Astrostatistics Special Interest Group

In addition to the well-established IAA — also see History below — ISI’s Astrostatistics SIG interacts closely with similar astrostatistics groups in sister organisations:

These groups share a Web presence at the Astrostatistics and Astroinformatics Portal (ASAIP), which provides links to astrostatistics and astroinformatics organisations, lists of recent papers, meetings, job opportunities, and other online resources.

Goals/ Objectives

The main goal of the Astrostatistics SIG in the ISI, is to foster collaboration between members of the statistical and astronomical communities. It also seeks to support existing astrostatistical organisations 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.


An Astrostatistics interest group was first formed by Joseph Hilbe in 2008. At the winter ISI EC board meeting in December of 2009, it became an ISI standing committee, and 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 ISI World Statistics Congress, in July 2017 in Marrakech (Morocco), the ISI President-Elect and the Interim President of IAA discussed the future of astrostatistics within the ISI.  Emergence of a new organisational structure of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) within the ISI, specifically to link statistics with other disciplines, would be helpful.  The Astrostatistics SIG within ISI was thus reactivated.

Members of the Committee

  • G. Jogesh Babu, chair
  • James Berger
  • Eric Kolaczyk
  • Asis Chatopadhyay
  • Fionn Murtagh
  • David J Hand
  • Tsutomu T. Takeuchi, Division of Particle and Astrophysical Science, Nagoya University, Japan
  • Ilya Mandel, School of Physics and Astronomy, Monash University, Australia
  • Renate Meyer, Department of Statistics, Ko te Whare Pūtaiao, Faculty of Science, Waipapa Taumata Rau, The University of Auckland

In addition, the Astrostatistics SIG will be advised by representatives from the sister organisations IAU, IEEE, ASA, and AAS:

  • Zeljko Ivezic
  • Pablo A. Estevez
  • Jessi Cisewski
  • Aneta Siemiginowska

Liaison with the ISI PO: Olivia van Dijck-Timbol.

Brief Histories of the Sister Organisations

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 organisation 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.