The Imperial Centre for Inference and Cosmology (ICIC) was formed in 2012 and aims to address the statistical challenges posed by massive and complex data streams in astrophysics, astroparticle physics, and cosmology. It is a collaborative effort between the Astrophysics Group and the Statistics Section at Imperial College London.
Astrostatistics – the development and application of advanced statistical methods to cosmological and astrophysical problems – is a rapidly growing discipline. Advances in astrophysics and cosmology are driven by large and complex data sets, which can only be analyzed, interpreted and understood thanks to refined statistical methods. Statistics has become an essential part of the pipeline leading to the correct physical interpretation, rather than the last resort of a physicist who should have done a better experiment (paraphrasing Rutherford). Astrostatistics is pushing the boundaries of both statistics and astrophysics, and giving rise to new approaches for dealing with complex data sets and uncertainty.
Imperial astrophysics is spearheading the establishment of astrostatistics as a discipline capable of providing accurate, robust and insightful answers to complex theoretical problems in astrophysics, cosmology and astroparticle physics.
The ICIC concentrates on Bayesian methods in cosmology, and has pioneered Bayesian methods for searching for rare objects, such as: