A New AAS Working Group on Astroinformatics and Astrostatistics
In response to a White Paper submitted to the Astro2010 Decadal Survey (arXiv:0909.3892), and with the support of former and current AAS Presidents Elmegreen and Helfand, a new AAS Working Group on Astroinformatics and Astrostatistics has been approved by the AAS Council at the 220th Meeting, June 2012, in Anchorage.
The motivation for this WG is the growing importance of the interface between astronomy and various branches of applied mathematics and computer science. With the new data-intensive projects envisioned for the coming decade, the need for advice derived from the focused attention of a group of AAS members who work in these areas is bound to increase.
The Working Group is charged with developing and spreading awareness of the applications of advanced computer science, statistics and allied branches of applied mathematics to further the goals of astronomical and astrophysical research. The Working Group may interact with other academic, international, or governmental organizations, as appropriate, to advance the fields of astroinformatics and astrostatistics. It must report to the AAS Council annually on its activities, and is encouraged to make suggestions and proposals to the AAS leadership on ways to enhance the utility and visibility of its activities.
The three main strategic goals for this WG over the next few years are to (i) develop, organize and maintain methodological resources (such as software tools, papers, books, and lectures), (ii) enhance human resources (such as foster the creation of career paths, establish a Speakers' Bureau, establish and maintain an archived discussion forum, enable periodic news distribution) and (iii) organize topical meetings.
The initial organizational work will be facilitated by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee includes nine members, initially appointed by Council, and in successive three-years staggered terms, nominated by the Working Group and confirmed by the AAS Council. The initial Committee members include Zeljko Ivezic (chair), Kirk Borne, George Djorgovski, Eric Feigelson, Eric Ford, Alyssa Goodman, Aneta Siemiginowska, Alex Szalay, and Rick White.
Internal discussions and news dissemination will be enabled by an archived e-mail exploder hosted by AAS. All AAS members with interest in these fields are invited to join this Working Group and its exploder by sending an email request to Zeljko Ivezic, firstname.lastname@example.org.
WGAA news that is published on the AAS website will also be distributed as Email Notifications. AAS members receive these notification by subscribing to the Astroinformatics and Astrostatistics category (http://aas.org/publications/email-notifications).
New developments and other relevant material will also be accessible from The Astrostatistics and Astroinformatics Portal (http://asaip.psu.edu).