IPTA Hack Week

  • Organized by
  • Chiara Mingarelli, Ph.D.Flatiron Research Fellow, CCA, Flatiron Institute
Date & Time


162 5th Avenue, 6th floor Conference Room


The deliverables of the week will hopefully be:
1) A fast exploratory analysis of DR2 resulting in an upper limit.
2) Proficiency of using Bayesian analysis codes amongst all attendees (enterprise will be the work-horse: https://enterprise.readthedocs.io/en/latest/).
3) New data quality standards for the IPTA, and other emerging pulsar-timing projects like MeerKAT, FAST, GMRT.

1) Docker 
— We will be using a Docker image (akin to a virtual machine) for most of the analysis, which we will have more details about soon. This will contain all the software you need for the week, so in practice you don’t need to suffer any installation or compatibility woes.
— To get some practice with docker, follow the instructions in the README here: https://github.com/nanograv/nanodocker
2) PTA learning materials
— The following website is a repository of useful pulsar-timing, gravitational-wave, and data-analysis materials. It includes links to papers, theses, pen-and-paper exercises, and jupyter-notebook tutorials: https://github.com/nanograv/pulsar_timing_school.
— For a primer, I think the NANOGrav 9yr GW limit paper gives a good overview of our current likelihood structure and modeling approaches.(http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2016ApJ…821…13A)
3) enterprise tutorials
— enterprise is our Bayesian work-horse for all future PTA analysis. Everyone should attempt to have some degree of familiarity with it before the busy week.
— The docs for enterprise are really well-written (thanks to Justin) https://enterprise.readthedocs.io/en/latest/. You will be guided through the installation process, and how to analyze both the mock data from the IPTA challenge of 2012, and the real NANOGrav 9yr data release. If you can perform the tutorial on the NANOGrav 9yr data release, then you should have no troubles with the IPTA dataset we will be studying.


Monday and Wednesday we will have invited speakers in the morning. Monday morning is dedicated to astrophysics with the IPTA, and Wednesday morning to data analysis methods and techniques currently employed by the IPTA. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday will be full hacking days.


8:30 PM: Welcome drinks at the “Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor”, http://www.artsandcraftsbarnyc.com/greenwich-village-bar-info/ . Address is 26 W 8th St New York, NY 10011 (Located between MacDougal St. & 5th Avenue near NYU).


8AM- 9AM: breakfast and welcome
9AM: Overview of hack week goals, introducing local experts (Chiara Mingarelli, Meeting Chair, CCA)
9:30 AM: Invited guest speaker Zoltan Haiman (Columbia University)
10:30 AM Astrophysics with the IPTA, invited speaker Joe Simon (Caltech/JPL)
12:30 PM lunch
1:30 PM Analyzing IPTA data, invited speaker Stephen Taylor (Caltech/JPL)
2:00 PM onward, Hacking
5:30 PM end


8:30 AM- 9:30 AM: breakfast and welcome
9:30 AM: Overview of current data analysis methods used in the IPTA, invited speaker Justin Ellis (JPL)
10:00 AM: Invited guest speaker David Hogg (CCA / New York University)
10:30 AM Discussion
12:30 PM lunch

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: Exploratory DR2-Lite analysis.

Using a pruned version of IPTA DR2, we will perform noise analysis, focusing on red noise, white noise, and DM modeling, without looking at advanced features like system red-noise. The outcome of this week should be an upper limit that would ideally improve upon the NANOGrav 9yr limit, demonstrating that the IPTA is essential for PTA endeavors, and motivating our more rigorous analysis of DR2.

Daily Schedule
8AM- 9AM: breakfast and welcome
9AM: Overview of Monday’s progress, goals for today
9:30AM: hack

Coffee breaks as needed

12:30pm lunch
1pm Resume, Hacking
5:30pm end

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