We kicked off AstroHackWeek 2015 today, with a huge crowd (some 60-ish) people from all over the world and in all different astrophysics fields (and a range of career stages!). Kyle Barbary (UCB) started the day with an introduction to Python for data analysts and Daniela Huppenkothen (NYU, and the principal organizer of the event) followed with some ideas for exploratory data analysis. They set up Jupyter notebooks for interactive tutorials and the crowd followed along. At some point in the morning, Huppenkothen shocked the crowd by letting them know that admissions to AstroHackWeek had been done (in part) with a random number generator!
In the afternoon, the hacking started: People split up into groups to work on problems brought to the meeting by the participants. Dalya Baron (TAU) and I teamed up to write code to build and project mixtures of Gaussians in preparation for an experiment in classifying and determining the projections (Euler angles) of galaxies. This is the project that Leslie Greengard and I have been discussing at the interface of molecular microscopy and astrophysics; that is, anything we figure out here could be used in many other contexts. By the end of the day we had working mixture-of-Gaussian code and could generate fake images.