Maria Alessandra Papa & Bruce Allen - AEI Hanover, Germany

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 1:00pm
705 Pupin Hall


"Searching for continuous gravitational waves"

Maria Alessandra Papa

There has been much excitement about the first gravitational wave detection and the first multi-messenger signal. LIGO/Virgo have issued the first gravitational wave catalogue that comprises 11 signals, all from the merger of compact objects. We expect however to see a broader variety of signal morphologies than the ones observed so far, reflecting a broader range of astrophysical phenomena. In this talk I will concentrate on continuous gravitational waves. I will outline the main features of the detection problem — which is probably the most complex across the gravitational wave spectrum — , results to date and future prospects.


Bruce Allen

Since it was launched in 2005, the Einstein@Home project has allowed volunteers from the public to contribute computing cycles to the search for new neutron stars. It currently delivers about 6 petaflops of computing on a 24 x 7 basis, coming from around 200,000 CPU cores and 20,000 GPUs. Einstein@Home excels at searches where the sensitivity is limited by the available computing power. Our original search for continuous gravitational waves (described in Papa's talk) has been broadened to include data from radio telescopes and from the the Fermi gamma-ray satellite.   I'll talk about Einstein@Home and some of the dozens of new gamma-ray and radio pulsars that it has found.

About the speakers

Maria Alessandra Papa's research is to detect a continuous gravitational wave signal (CW).  She coordinates the deployment of the Einstein@Home CW searches on LIGO data and the mining of the results. Her group has consistently deployed the deepest surveys on LIGO data and, in the absence of a detection, has provided the tightest constraints on the amplitude of CW signals at Earth.

Hand in hand with this work on the data goes the improvement of the search methods, the development of optimisation techniques to pick the most promising signals to search for and investigations to explore different emission mechanisms. 

CW searches are computationally limited. For this reason Maria Alessandra's group uses the Einstein@Home volunteer computing project, with its Petaflop performance, as our main work-horse. There is a non-trivial overhead associated to setting-up each Einstein@Home search, which must run flawlessly on hundreds of thousands of different computer architectures and operating systems.

Searching LIGO data is an amazing opportunity to detect a continuous gravitational wave signal. Directly through Maria Alessandra's own work and by coordinating the work of my group, this is what she strives to achieve.

More details on Maria Alessandra's research can be found here.

Bruce Allen's research focuses on gravitational wave detection and data analysis, early universe cosmology, de Sitter space, curved-space quantum field theory, cosmic strings, inflationary models of the early universe, gravitational radiation emission by cosmic strings, large scale cluster computing, public distributed computing.

More details on Bruce's research can be found here.