Big Data, Big Questions: The Future of Cosmological Surveys

28 April - 23 May 2025

Julian Adamek, Ruth Durrer, Francesca Lepori, Daniel Gruen

This MIAPbP program will focus on the major theoretical and observational challenges of exploiting big data from ongoing and future cosmological surveys.

A new generation of large astronomical surveys, either already underway or about to commence, is mapping out the large-scale structure of the Universe and provides us with a vast and ever-growing volume of observational data. Scientists now face the challenge of reliably extracting all available information from the data that can advance our knowledge and understanding of the cosmos. To accomplish this, observational and theoretical researchers must collaborate, developing increasingly sophisticated methods to analyse and model these observations. The vast statistical power at our disposal also presents opportunities to explore subtle physical effects and examine our theories of gravity, dark matter, and dark energy in ways that were never before possible. This MIAPbP program brings together scientists leading the fields of extragalactic observations, cosmological data analysis, and theoretical modelling, to develop the best tools and strategies to leverage the ongoing data revolution. We will be looking at fundamental questions about our Universe:

  • How can the new data be used to test the foundations of our cosmological standard model? Which new probes become available with big data?
  • Can general relativity alone explain the dynamics on extragalactic scales? How can we test this in a robust way?
  • How can we deploy machine learning and artificial intelligence to support the analysis of big data sets in a smart way?
  • What systematic and astrophysical effects are currently limiting our cosmological insights from these data and which methods can overcome these limitations?

By facilitating a collaborative environment, this MIAPbP program aspires to harness the full potential of big data to answer some of the biggest questions of modern cosmology.