Fisher Matrix Manipulation

and Confidence Contour plotting

Dan Coe

Fisher matrices encode the cosmological constraints (exepcted or actual) from a given experiment (e.g., weak lensing with JDEM). allows you to combine constraints from multiple experiments (e.g., weak lensing + supernovae) and add priors (e.g., a flat universe) simply and easily. Calculate parameter uncertainties and plot confidence ellipses as shown below. Fisher matrix expectations for several experiments are included as calculated by myself (time delays) and the Dark Energy Task Force (WL/SN/BAO/CL/CMB), or provide your own.

For an introduction to Fisher matrices and confidence contours, see Fisher Matrices and Confidence Ellipses: A Quick Start Guide and Software (Coe 2009). This was spawned from my work on Cosmological Constraints from Gravitational Lens Time Delays (Coe & Moustakas 2009). Screenshot

Download & Run

Fisher.tar.gz (beta 2)

Extract by running "tar -xvf Fisher2.tar.gz" (or double-clicking on a Mac).

Set the following environmental variables:

setenv NUMERIX numpy
setenv FISHERPATH /Users/coe/Fisher (or wherever you put the software)

Test programs (try running these):



Python programming language, including libraries:
  • Numpy
  • Matplotlib
  • Mac installation (Leopard OS X 10.5):
    Python should already be installed. For Numpy & Matplotlib, I recommend the Scipy Superpack. After downloading, install by running "sh". Then to enable arrow key commands, remove / rename the file "/Library/Python/2.5/site-packages/pyreadline-1.6.svn.dev_r3066-py2.5.egg".

    Problems / Questions / Comments

    Please e-mail me at coe(at) This is a beta release, so if it has issues on your machine, I'll help you resolve them quickly.

    Other Fisher matrix software

    Last modified: Sun Jul 12 13:09:27 PDT 2009