The Robotics Institute
RI | Seminar | January 25, 2002

Robotics Institute Seminar, January 25, 2002
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

Unraveling the Universe: The Challenge of Astrophysics in the 21st Century

Andrew Connolly
University of Pittsburgh

Time and Place
1305 Newell-Simon Hall
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm

Over the coming decade Astrophysics will be faced with a flood of data from a new generation of telescopes, satellites and multi-wavelength surveys. Combined, these massive, multidimensional datasets will provide the scientific community with access to a panchromatic view of the night sky (a Virtual Observatory). In this talk I will review how we can begin to use these new datasets to understand the physical processes that drive the formation and evolution of our Universe together with the computational challenges that such analyses present. The talk will then focus on two open problems in Astrophysics; the classification of the images of galaxies using an eigenvector approach and the application of robust statistics to characterize the clustering of galaxies on the sky. In each of these areas I will discuss the techniques applied, their limitations and their prospects in terms of applications for a Virtual Observatory.

Speaker Biography
Andrew Connolly is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh. He received a PhD from the University of London in 1993 on the "Large-scale Galaxy Peculiar Velocity Fields". His current research is focused on the formation and evolution of galaxies, the angular and spatial clustering of galaxies and understanding the distribution of the physical properties of galaxies. Dr Connolly has been a participant on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey since 1993. He has implemented new algorithms for the analysis of noisy, incomplete spectra, and was involved in the design and development of the science archive for the SDSS; including new indexing and data partitioning schemes. Other interests involve inversion techniques and pattern recognition problems in astrophysics.

Speaker Appointments
For appointments, please contact Yanxi Liu (

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.