This year, the summer program at the Aspen Center for Physics includes a four-week workshop (May 24-June 21) on “CSI PTA: Computation, Systematics, and Inference for Pulsar-Timing Arrays, and Beyond.” Applications to attend are due by January 31 (strictly!) at http://www.aspenphys.org/physicists/summer/program/applications.html . With this message, we are enthusiastically soliciting applications from researchers active in the IPTA and in pulsar timing generally, in gravitational-wave science, and in other disciplines (CMB, exoplanets, and on) that face computation-intensive inference problems on complex datasets. Please disseminate this message to anybody who is active in this field who may be interested.
Our theme is as follows. The precision timing of millisecond-pulsar arrays across several years offers the opportunity of searching for nanohertz gravitational waves from supermassive black-hole binaries as well as primordial sources. Achieving the first detection requires advances in three crucial research directions (designing computation, controlling complex physical systematics, and structuring astrophysical inference for maximum insight), which are common to many other areas of modern astronomy and astrophysics. This workshop focuses on these general problems for the specific case of pulsar-timing arrays, and it aims to attract specialists who deal with computation/systematics/inference to search for weak signals in noisy data, together with pulsar experts. A concurrent workshop on “ExaScale Astronomical Synoptic Surveys” offers opportunities for further interactions and cross-pollination.
If you haven’t been to the Center, this is not the meeting that you’re thinking it is! Aspen summer workshops are unstructured and focus on individual research and on the informal exchange of ideas, in a delightful and inspiring locale. These workshops are about discussing exciting ideas and problems, rather than presenting completed work. About 500 researchers from over 100 institutions participate each summer, with 80-90 in residence at any given time. All participants are working physicists at all levels from postdocs to discipline leaders (exceptional students are admitted in very special cases), providing an exciting and fruitful atmosphere of collaboration and creativity. Women, minority physicists, young investigators, and researchers from smaller institutions are strongly encouraged to apply. To ensure the continuity of thought essential for workshop success, two-week stays are the minimum, and longer stays are encouraged. Participants often bring their families; day care and other family-friendly arrangements are available.
We credit past workshops for building bridges and forging pivotal collaborations that changed the face of gravitational-wave astrophysics, and we expect this workshop to do no less! Here are some links you can follow for more information:
– Aspen Center for Physics: http://www.aspenphys.org
– Aspen Summer Program overview: http://www.aspenphys.org/physicists/summer/index.html
– Summer 2015 workshops at the center: http://www.aspenphys.org/physicists/summer/program/currentworkshops.html
– The Aspen Center diversity policy: http://www.aspenphys.org/physicists/summer/diversity.html
– Bringing children to Aspen: http://www.aspenphys.org/physicists/summer/planning/daycare.html
– Applications (which are REQUIRED by January 31!): http://www.aspenphys.org/physicists/summer/program/applications.html
Please note that the organizers cannot guarantee admission, which is granted by the Center’s Admissions Committee, with organizer input. The Center will endeavor to accommodate as many applicants as possible. Invitations to participate will be sent out in mid-March, with a deadline for response by April 1. Those not invited to participate will be placed on an ordered waiting list, and invitations will be sent to them as spaces become available.
We hope to see you in Aspen!
The workshop organizers:
Michael Kramer, Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy
Andrea Lommen, Franklin & Marshall College
Xavi Siemens, University of Wisconsin
Michele Vallisneri, California Institute of Technology/JPL