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Fast algorithms in cosmology and the study of dark energy

Final Activity Report Summary - COSFAST (Fast algorithms in cosmology and the study of dark energy)

This IRG grant was awarded to Prof. Bob Nichol to aid in his return from the Unites States to Europe. He is now a permanent staff member at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth. This grant was to help him in his continued multi-disciplinary research into developing new and efficient computational algorithms for the application to massive cosmological datasets. The funding was used to partially support Edd Edmondson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Portsmouth. During the last two years of this IRG grant, Bob and Edd have published important research papers including: (1) Bryan et al. (2007), which used a combination of new statistical methodology (non-parametric fitting) and advanced parameter searching techniques to determine the best cosmological parameters based solely on the WMAP dataset. This paper built upon earlier work by Bob in a paper entitled 'Nonparametric inference for the cosmic microwave background' published in 2005 in Statistical Science. (2) In Edmondson et al. (2006; Mon. Not. Roy. Astron. Soc. 371, 1693-1704), we describe an optimum Bayesian method for extracting redshift distributions from photometric data. Overall, the new techniques developed during this grant will become important as the amount of astronomical data increases with new survey telescopes like the ESO VST and VISTA.