The academic and the commercial

Astronomy and astrophysics exploit many different areas of science and engineering. At the theory level we use nuclear and high energy physics, radiation theory, chemistry and now exo-biology. From the point of view of data acquisition, imaging sensors, image processing and telescopes have been an essential part astronomical data acquisition. At the end of the 19th century, we used photographic plates and measuring machines in visible wavebands. Today we collect data across the entire electromagnetic spectrum using a wide diversity of sensors, often mounted on space vehicles. We use super-computers to analyse and simulate vast amounts of data.

In 1983 my wife, Janet, and I decided to exploit what we had learned in astrophysics in the then-emerging world of personal computers. The obvious target was imaging, which is where we started and by 1995 the focus became the emerging market in video imaging. We used techniques learned in astrophysics to process streams of video in real time. A decade later I started bringing some of what we had learned back into astrophysics, specifically the multiscale wavelet analysis of cosmic structure.