Learning an Astronomical Catalog of the Visible Universe through Scalable Bayesian Inference [CL]


Celeste is a procedure for inferring astronomical catalogs that attains state-of-the-art scientific results. To date, Celeste has been scaled to at most hundreds of megabytes of astronomical images: Bayesian posterior inference is notoriously demanding computationally. In this paper, we report on a scalable, parallel version of Celeste, suitable for learning catalogs from modern large-scale astronomical datasets. Our algorithmic innovations include a fast numerical optimization routine for Bayesian posterior inference and a statistically efficient scheme for decomposing astronomical optimization problems into subproblems.
Our scalable implementation is written entirely in Julia, a new high-level dynamic programming language designed for scientific and numerical computing. We use Julia’s high-level constructs for shared and distributed memory parallelism, and demonstrate effective load balancing and efficient scaling on up to 8192 Xeon cores on the NERSC Cori supercomputer.

Read this paper on arXiv…

J. Regier, K. Pamnany, R. Giordano, et. al.
Fri, 11 Nov 16

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