Chris Miller is a leader in astroinformatics – mixing computer science, advanced statistics, and data mining to answer key cosmological questions. His specialty is looking at galaxy clusters through the field’s largest data sets to trace the distribution of matter in the universe. After years exploiting the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, he’s now heavily involved in the Dark Energy Survey and is a key player in the development of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). The LSST was identified as a highest priority in the National Research Council’s decadal survey, and its unprecedented data set is expected to lead to further insights into the nature of dark energy and matter.
Miller used his galaxy-cluster research to support the Hot Big Bang theory by aligning findings from opposing cosmological epochs. He was the first to see the signatures of sound waves from the very early universe that were “frozen into” the matter-density distribution we see today. His analysis of the current universe synched neatly with the acoustic oscillations of the early universe detected in the cosmic microwave background, and demonstrated the power of combining big-survey analysis and his own observational data.
BS, Penn State; PhD, University of Maine. Postdoc, Carnegie-Melon; National Optical Astronomy Observatory/Chile. Hired at U-M under a presidential initiative for advancing data mining research.
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