LIGO Data Analysis and Gravitational Wave Astronomy

  • Finn, Lee S. (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details





This program addresses research in gravitational wave astronomy--the interpretation of gravitational wave observations that are anticipated to begin in the next several years--in addition to data analysis questions of direct relevance to the LIGO experimental gravitational wave detection effort. It is anticipated that the latter research efforts will be carried out in the context of the LIGO Science Collaboration. This research if of direct relevance to include development of:

'science benchmarks' for the uniform assessment of alternative detector designs in terms of target science;

techniques for generating extensible pseudo-random sequences with Gaussian statistics and a prescribed power spectral density that may include arbitrarily sharp spectral features (for simulating the Gaussian-stationary noise component of the LIGO receiver);

diagnostics techniques for identifying and characterizing the statistical properties of non-Gaussian stationary and non-stationary instrumental noise,

data analysis algorithms that exploit fully the information present in the correlated output of a network of independent gravitational wave detectors,

data analysis algorithms for the identification of stochastic signals using maximum likelihood tests,

data analysis algorithms capable of identifying burst sources or unknown origin, and

Bayesian data analysis algorithms as alternatives to the Frequentist algorithms that have already been explored in the literature.

Gravitational wave astronomy research problems addressed here focus on

source calculations for stochastic signals arising from non-exotic sources;

interpretation of observations of generic burst sources in terms of astrophysical sources;

the use of binary inspiral observations as a census of the distribution of component masses in compact binaries and as a yardstick by which the Hubble constant and other cosmological parameters may be measured; and

the use of gravitational wave observations in LIGO to test predictions of alternative theories of gravity regarding the 'spin' of the graviton.


Effective start/end date8/15/981/31/02


  • National Science Foundation: $403,290.00


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