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Space Telescope Science Institute
Mocking the Universe

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Overview and Solicitation for Contributed Talks and Posters

In the coming era of LSST, PanSTARRS, WFIRST, Euclid, ALMA, ELTs, JWST, and other facilities, we want to know: What science can we learn by injecting more astrophysics into mock catalogs, and how can we use mock data to maximize the science output of real data?

This workshop will cover a variety of astronomy topics bound together by their need to mock the universe: strong and weak lensing, stellar streams and Milky Way dynamics, galaxy and star formation, large scale structure, and dust. How do you simulate data? What techniques do you use to check whether you get out what you put in? What do you hope to learn by comparing mock catalogs to real data? How can we best use observations to improve synthetic ones? Are there parts of our fake universes that we should share with the community? How?

As computing resources grow and simulations resolve entire observable universes, it may become possible to simulate every pixel observed in next-generation surveys, many times over. Is this a worthy goal? Where should our simulations and surveys meet in order to learn the most about how our universe works? What are the computing, mathematical, and scientific problems we must overcome to achieve these goals?

We invite contributed talks and posters along the entire continuum of observations to theory, especially those that exploit combinations of fake and real data to constrain astrophysical models, measure cosmological parameters, and determine our cosmic history.

We stress that this workshop is as much for "observers" to discuss how they use mock data, and how real data inform what mock observations should include but don't, as it is for "theorists" to discuss how they mock the universe.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Maarten Baes
  • Alyssa Goodman
  • Andreea Font
  • Mario Jurić
  • Rachel Mandelbaum
  • Greg Snyder
  • Matthew Turk
  • Risa Wechsler

Organizing Committee

  • Harry Ferguson
  • Karoline Gilbert
  • Karl Gordon
  • Flory Hill (Coordinator)
  • Jason Kalirai
  • Susan Kassin
  • Jennifer Lotz
  • Josh Peek
  • Molly Peeples (Chair)
  • Marc Postman
  • Greg Snyder
  • Massimo Stiavelli
  • Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay
  • Jason Tumlinson

Relevant Dates

This discussion-intensive workshop is limited to 70 participants; preference will be given to those who pre-register. The workshop will last 2.5 days, from Monday, July 27 to Wednesday, July 29, with a reception the evening of Sunday, July 26. It will include a combination of invited talks (30 minutes), contributed talks (10-15 minutes), and posters. The registration fee, covering breakfasts, coffee breaks, and an opening reception on Sunday, July 26, is $110. The conference banquet cost is $65.

May 1 - Deadline for pre-registration and abstract submission
May 15 - Notification of acceptance to attend the conference, and approval to register and pay
June 26 - Deadline for payment of registration fee