Scientific article
Open access

Measuring the effective complexity of cosmological models

Publication date2006-07-07
First online date2006-07-07

We introduce a statistical measure of the effective model complexity, called the Bayesian complexity. We demonstrate that the Bayesian complexity can be used to assess how many effective parameters a set of data can support and that it is a useful complement to the model likelihood (the evidence) in model selection questions. We apply this approach to recent measurements of cosmic microwave background anisotropies combined with the Hubble Space Telescope measurement of the Hubble parameter. Using mildly non-informative priors, we show how the 3-year WMAP data improves on the first-year data by being able to measure both the spectral index and the reionization epoch at the same time. We also find that a non-zero curvature is strongly disfavored. We conclude that although current data could constrain at least seven effective parameters, only six of them are required in a scheme based on the Lambda-CDM concordance cosmology.

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Citation (ISO format)
KUNZ, Martin, TROTTA, Roberto, PARKINSON, David. Measuring the effective complexity of cosmological models. In: Physical review. D, Particles, fields, gravitation, and cosmology, 2006, vol. 74, n° 2, p. 023503. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevD.74.023503
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1550-2368

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