An Astrostatistics interest group was first formed by Joseph Hilbe (recently deceased) in 2008. At the winter ISI executive board meeting in December of 2009, it became an ISI standing committee shortly thereafter was renamed the ISI Astrostatistics Network. In 2012 the Network voted to become an independent global scientific association for astrostatistics and astroinformatics called the International Astrostatistics Association (IAA). Under Joseph Hilbe’s leadership, membership of IAA grew to 600 representing 45 countries on 6 continents.
At the 61st World Statistics Congress in July 2017 at Marrakech, Morocco, the ISI President-elect and the Interim President of IAA discussed the future of astrostatistics within the ISI. Emergence of a new organizational structure of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) within the ISI specifically to link statistics with other disciplines, was helpful. The Astrostatistics Special Interest Group (SIG) within ISI was thus reactivated. In addition to the well-established IAA, ISI’s Astrostatistics SIG will interact closely with similar astrostatistics groups in sister organizations:
– Commission B3 Astroinformatics & Astrostatistics in the International Astronomical Union (IAU)
– IEEE Task Force on Astronomical Data Mining within the IEEE Society on Computational Intelligence
– Astrostatistics Interest Group in the American Statistical Association (ASA)
– Working Group in Astroinformatics & Astrostatistics in the American Astronomical Society (AAS)
These groups share a Web presence at the Astrostatistics and Astroinformatics Portal (ASAIP maintained by Eric Feigelson) that provides links to astrostatistics and astroinformatics organizations, lists of recent papers, meetings, job opportunities, and other online resources.
BRIEF HISTORIES OF THESE ALLIED GROUPS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
- IAU Commission — In 2012, astronomers interested in innovating methodology for astronomical data analysis formed a temporary Working Group in Astrostatistics within the International Astronomical Union. In 2015, it became a permanent Commission on Astroinformatics and Astrostatistics with particular focus on analysis of survey Big Data in addition to complex inference problems linking astronomy with astrophysics.
- IEEE Task Force — The Task Force on Mining Complex Astronomical Data (Astrominer) under the Data Mining Technical Committee of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society, established in October 2014, will contribute to solutions of problems modern astronomy faces in turning the vast stream of astronomical data into reliable knowledge. Machine learning, data mining, and computational intelligence are emphasized.
- ASA Interest Group — Astrostatistics has reached a level of maturity and a critical mass that requires a more formal organization of researchers within the American Statistical Association. To meet this growing need and to encourage astrostatistical research to flourish, the ASA’s Astrostatistics Interest Group was formed in 2014.
- AAS Working Group — The Working Group was established at the 220th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, June 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska in response to a White Paper report submitted to the National Academy of Sciences Astro2010 Decadal Survey.
The main goal of the Astrostatistics Special Interest Group in ISI is to foster collaboration between members of the statistical and astronomical communities. It also seeks to support existing astrostatistical organizations and endeavors, and will serve as a locus for the dissemination of information regarding astrostatistical education programs, collaborations, conferences and web sites. The SIG hopes to serve as an apolitical representative of the astrostatistics and astroinformatics communities.
The Astrostatistics SIG Management Committee (MC) members are:
G. Jogesh Babu (Chair)
David J Hand
In addition, the Astrostatistics SIG will be advised by the following representatives from the sister organizations IAU, IEEE, ASA, and AAS):
Pablo A. Estevez