Dr Dun Wang

It was with the greatest pleasure that I participated in the PhD defense today of Dun Wang (NYU), who has been my student this last five years. He has done a remarkable body of work: He has a very good model for the NASA Kepler data, using pixels to predict other pixels. He has a completely novel method for image differencing, where he doesn't need a reference image (and instead uses a time series of images to build a predictive model). And he has a data-driven model for the pointing (as a function of time) and sensitivity map for the last days of the NASA GALEX mission, where the camera was scanned rapidly back and forth across the Galactic Plane.

I have many things to say about this work, but here are just a few: Wang's work encouraged me to think about extremely big models! I think his model of the Kepler data has more free parameters than any model of anything, ever (literally close to a trillion). Gotta love convexity! He used his image differencing to discover completely new microlensing events in the K2 Campaign 9 data. He has the first ever ultraviolet maps of the Milky Way disk plane at this depth and resolution. It is a very impressive body of work.

Congratulations Dr Wang. And thank you!

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