Probing local non-Gaussianities within a Bayesian framework
Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik,
Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 1, 85748 Garching, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1110 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
3 Department of Astronomy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1002 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
4 Institute for Computational Cosmology, Department of Physics, Durham University, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK
Accepted: 31 January 2010
Aims. We outline the Bayesian approach to inferring fNL, the level of non-Gaussianities of local type. Phrasing fNL inference in a Bayesian framework takes advantage of existing techniques to account for instrumental effects and foreground contamination in CMB data and takes into account uncertainties in the cosmological parameters in an unambiguous way.
Methods. We derive closed form expressions for the joint posterior of fNL and the reconstructed underlying curvature perturbation, Φ, and deduce the conditional probability densities for fNL and Φ. Completing the inference problem amounts to finding the marginal density for fNL. For realistic data sets the necessary integrations are intractable. We propose an exact Hamiltonian sampling algorithm to generate correlated samples from the fNL posterior. For sufficiently high signal-to-noise ratios, we can exploit the assumption of weak non-Gaussianity to find a direct Monte Carlo technique to generate independent samples from the posterior distribution for fNL. We illustrate our approach using a simplified toy model of CMB data for the simple case of a 1D sky.
Results. When applied to our toy problem, we find that, in the limit of high signal-to-noise, the sampling efficiency of the approximate algorithm outperforms that of Hamiltonian sampling by two orders of magnitude. When fNL is not significantly constrained by the data, the more efficient, approximate algorithm biases the posterior density towards fNL = 0.
Key words: cosmic microwave background / cosmological parameters / methods: data analysis / methods: numerical / methods: statistical
© ESO, 2010