Journal Article

Optimizing future dark energy surveys for model selection goals

Catherine Watkinson, Andrew R. Liddle, Pia Mukherjee and David Parkinson

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 424, issue 1, pages 313-324
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Optimizing future dark energy surveys for model selection goals

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We demonstrate a methodology for optimizing the ability of future dark energy surveys to answer model selection questions, such as ‘Is acceleration due to a cosmological constant or a dynamical dark energy model?’. Model selection figures of merit (FoMs) are defined, exploiting the Bayes factor, and surveys optimized over their design parameter space via a Monte Carlo method. As a specific example, we apply our methods to generic multi-fibre baryon acoustic oscillation spectroscopic surveys, comparable to that proposed for Subaru Measurement of Images and Redshifts Prime Focus Spectrograph, and present implementations based on the Savage–Dickey Density Ratio that are both accurate and practical for use in optimization. It is shown that whilst the optimal surveys using model selection agree with those found using the Dark Energy Task Force (DETF) FoM, they provide better informed flexibility of survey configuration and an absolute scale for performance; for example, we find survey configurations with close-to-optimal model selection performance despite their corresponding DETF FoM being at only 50 per cent of its maximum. This Bayes factor approach allows us to interpret the survey configurations that will be good enough for the task at hand, vital especially when wanting to add extra science goals and in dealing with time restrictions or multiple probes within the same project.

Keywords: methods: statistical; cosmology: observations; dark energy

Journal Article.  8604 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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