Cosmic Inference: Constraining Parameters with Observations and a Highly Limited Number of Simulations

Timur Takhtaganov, Zarija Lukic, Juliane Mueller, Dmitriy Morozov.
The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 906, Number 2, 2021.
DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/abc8ed
arXiv: 1905.07410
Cosmological probes pose an inverse problem where the measurement result is obtained through observations, and the objective is to infer values of model parameters that characterize the underlying physical system—our universe, from these observations and theoretical forward-modeling. The only way to accurately forward-model physical behavior on small scales is via expensive numerical simulations, which are further "emulated" due to their high cost. Emulators are commonly built with a set of simulations covering the parameter space with Latin hypercube sampling and an interpolation procedure; the aim is to establish an approximately constant prediction error across the hypercube. In this paper, we provide a description of a novel statistical framework for obtaining accurate parameter constraints. The proposed framework uses multi-output Gaussian process emulators that are adaptively constructed using Bayesian optimization methods with the goal of maintaining a low emulation error in the region of the hypercube preferred by the observational data. In this paper, we compare several approaches for constructing multi-output emulators that enable us to take possible inter-output correlations into account while maintaining the efficiency needed for inference. Using a Lyα forest flux power spectrum, we demonstrate that our adaptive approach requires considerably fewer—by a factor of a few in the Lyα P(k) case considered here—simulations compared to the emulation based on Latin hypercube sampling, and that the method is more robust in reconstructing parameters and their Bayesian credible intervals.