Put Yourself Out There

Reports from the front on Astrophysics, Statistics, and Data Science

Postgres Table Design

Today I worked with Dan Halperin and Brandon Holt on Postgres table design for our KBMOD project. We are using the PostGIS package to provide support for spatial overlap queries (on the celestial sphere instead of the terrestrial one). The big challenge is how to optimally store (and to query) information on 1e6 images that contain a total of 1e12 pixels. The ultimate goal is to intersect these data with proposed orbits of Solar System objects to understand if there is evidence for them in the time series of images.

Data Driven Discovery

I've just submitted a proposal to the Moore Foundation's Data Driven Discovery Initiative. This is the first of two rounds of the proposal process. If selected, I would be awarded $1.5M over 5 years, which would be my biggest individual grant yet. Read on for the core proposal idea...

Odds of Correctly Predicting the NCAA Basketball Tournament

I was briefly interviewed for a Wall Street Journal article on Warren Buffett's insuring of a $\$1$ billion dollar prize for any contestant who correctly picks all 63 games in the 2013 NCAA basketball tournament (see also here). Don't ask how this happened; it involves consorting with a bunch of degenerates. As stated in the article, "Mr. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway would take on the risk, and earn a fee for doing so". My position as stated in the article is that this paid premium to Berkshire Hathaway was unnecessary, since the odds of picking the outcome of these 63 games correctly is so unlikely. A great deal for Mr. Buffett, but that is indeed his reputation. I expand on these thoughts below.