Feature detection in real and synthetic astronomical surveys
Large astronomical surveys contain vast information about the structure and contents of the universe, from the stellar structure of our Galaxy to the detailed form of the "cosmic web", driven by dark matter/dark energy , that spans the Universe. Astrophysics-based simulations that model the evolution of such structure have reached a degree of realism high enough to create synthetic (aka "mock") surveys that contain many of the important observed structural features. The predictive power of such simulations is being used to mitigate systematic effests in survey analysis methods, but theoretical uncertainties exist. This project will build a platform to measure the validity of simulation-empowered methodologies by developing and applying new methods of feature detection and comparative statistical studies for cosmic structure.