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ISI Astrostatistics Committee and Network



The foremost goal of the ISI Astrostatistics Committee is to foster collaboration between members of the statistical and astronomical communities. It also seeks to support existing astrostatistical organizations and endeavors, and will serve as a locus for the dissemination of information regarding astrostatistical education programs, conferences, web sites, and related publications. The committee hopes to serve as an apolitical representative of the astrostatistical community, and will manage the creation and maintenance of a global network of astrostatisticians, consisting of astrophysicists, statisticians, and anyone else having an interest in the statistical analysis of astronomical data.

Members of the committee are charged with establishing relationships between the committee/network and other organizations having activities related to astrostatistical analysis. For example, we intend to maintain a strong working relationship with the International Statistical Institute and International Astronomical Union, and with the various national statistical and astronomical associations. We also intend to work with NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the European Space Agency, as well as with existing astrostatistical centers and associations, e.g. the Pennsylvania State Center for Astrostatistics, the California-Harvard Astrostatistics Collaboration (CHASC), the International Computational AstroStatistics Group (InCA), and similar associations.

ISI Astrostatistics Network

The ISI Astrostatistics Committee serves as the executive committee of the ISI Astrostatistics Network. The Network is a global association of statisticians, astronomers, and other researchers and theorists having an interest in the statistical analysis of astronomical data. Members of the Network are able to contribute advice as well as their special expertise to the furtherance of committee and Network goals and objectives.

A Network membership list, or registry, will be maintained by the Network. It is intended that members with similar research interests may be identified and can perhaps collaborate on projects of mutual interest. The registry is separately posted on the Network website, and is updated on a regular basis.

The Network also maintains a Newsletter, published monthly, providing information to members regarding upcoming astrostatistically-related conferences, job openings related to astrostatistics, relevant courses and educational programs, books, journal articles and other publications that are related to astrostatistical methods. The Newsletter also provides information concerning invited papers and special topics sessions that have been awarded to the Network or its members. This allows Network members to observe the types of research activities being advanced by members.

We also hope to sponsor a Journal of Astrostatistics, to be published by Wiley, when it is assured that there will be a steady stream of quality submitted manuscripts. The Journal will be discussed at the next general meeting of the committee/Network, which will be held in conjunction with the 2011 ISI World Statistics Congress in Dublin, Ireland, August 2011. BePress has also expressed an interest in publishing the journal, and plans to present an overview of what it can offer at the Dublin event.

Astrostatistics has a long history, but its efforts during the past century have been splintered. Given the new instruments and technologies currently providing huge masses of astronomical data to be analyzed, and given planned advances in these technologies, e.g. the James Webb Space telescope, it is imperative that astronomers and statisticians having an interest in astronomy collaborate on the development of new and enhanced statistical methods for the evaluation this data. One of the foremost charges of the Network is to foster such collaboration.

In addition, there is a need to encourage interdisciplinary joint statistics-astronomy department degree programs in astrostatistics. Several universities have already begun offering specialized education and degrees in astrostatistics. The Network will encourage these types of programs and offer support if necessary for their implementation. This movement sparks the beginning of a viable astrostatistics profession, whereby those coming from these programs identify themselves as astrostatisticians, not statisticians or astronomers.

Associated with the development of astrostatistics as both a discipline and profession, we aim to have the Network evolve into an independent ISI member Association titled the International Association of Astrostatistics. The Association, or IAA, will then serve as the professional association for those identifying themselves as astrostatisticians, whether they are trained specifically in the discipline or come to it as interested astronomers, statisticians, computer scientists, and even particle physicists. Until that time, however, the Network takes that role, serving as an interdisciplinary association for those interested in the discipline.

The Network will seek to advance astrostatistical expertise through fostering, and perhaps conducting, astrostatistical educational programs directed to both statisticians and astronomers. We hope to develop or support outside continuing education programs for astronomers desiring to learn advanced statistical methodologies so that they can themselves either engage in the analysis of their project data, or work in concert with a statistician or team of statisticians trained in astrostatistics. Likewise we wish to provide, or support, astrostatistical education programs directed to statisticians who wish to engage in astronomical research. And, as previously indicated, we envision the Network as being the base from which quality astrostatistical research and new statistical methods will be generated. Providing opportunities for the dissemination of astrostatistical research findings through conferences, colloquia, and the sponsoring of a journal are all important functions of our Network.

Joseph M. Hilbe
Chair, ISI Astrostatistics Committee

6 January 2010; Updated 19 Feb 2010; 11 Aug 2010; 06 Nov 2010

More Information - PDF 

ISI Astrostatistics Network Membership Registry - PDF 



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