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PyConES 2019 Alicante
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Saturday, October 5 • 15:30 - 16:10
Making a galaxy with python: merits and pitfalls in probabilistic programming

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A spectrum is an essential tool to understand the universe. This is a celestial histogram we can use to disentangle the photons from astronomical bodies. It is an astronomer job to explain the causes behind this distribution of photons. This talk is divided in two sections:  In the first one, we visit a basic theoretical model to explain the incoming light from a galaxy. To do this, we review the tools available in Python to obtain astronomical data and how they can be combined to generate synthetic galaxies. In the second part, we walk the opposite path: We use Python on astronomical data to check the robustness of theoretical models (see Fernández et al. 2019).
The purpose of this presentation is to explain the principles of probabilistic programming. In this case we use PyMC3 (see Salvatier et al 2018) a probabilistic programming library based in Theano (see Theano development team 2016). The author aims to apply a visually simple scientific model to describe some advantages and challenges in neural networks, Bayesian statistics and Monte Carlo samplers.
Fernández, Vital, Elena Terlevich, Angeles I. Díaz, and Roberto Terlevich (2019). “A Bayesian direct method implementation to fit emission line spectra: application to the primordial He abundance determination”. In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 487.3, pp. 3221–3238. ISSN: 0035-8711. DOI:10.1093/mnras/stz1433
Salvatier, John, Thomas V. Wiecki, and Christopher Fonnesbeck (2016). “Probabilistic programming in Python using PyMC3”. In: PeerJ Computer Science 2, e55. ISSN: 2376-5992. DOI: 10.7717/peerj-cs.55.
The Theano Development team et al. (2016). “Theano: A Python framework for fast computation of mathematical expressions”. In: arXiv:1605.02688 [cs]. arXiv: 1605.02688.

avatar for Vital Fernández

Vital Fernández

PhD Researcher
Astrophysics researcher focused in the composition of galaxies and the treatment of their spectra.I enjoy programming despite my poor training. I want to learn and implement better ways to treat and study astronomical data for both myself and the community.

Saturday October 5, 2019 15:30 - 16:10 CEST
Sala PSF