Audio-band Gravitational Wave Detection, Multi-Messenger Astronomy and Supercomputing

Several advanced ground-based laser interferometer gravitational-wave detectors are expected to be operational around 2015.   These include two LIGO detectors in the US and VIRGO in Europe.   First direct detections of gravitational waves from compact binaries of neutron stars and black holes are likely around 2017.

A real-time search pipeline that uses newly developed time-domain search technology has been developed by the UWA Gravity Group with support from the international gravitational-wave community – the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.   The aim is to detect gravitational waves in real-time from the advanced detector data and pass event triggers to conventional telescopes for prompt follow up observations.   Around 100 astronomical telescopes in the world have signed up to conduct follow up observations for LIGO detections.  Among them are SKA’s pathfinders in WA, ASKAP and MWA, Skymapper, and the Zadko Telescope at Gingin, which is part of the Tarot Robotic Optical Telescope Network.

They use Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) to accelerate the pipeline with the support of the supercomputing facility iVEC.  The pipeline has passed initial tests on existing detector data and on simulated online data from engineering runs for advanced detectors.   They are actively engaged in getting the detection ready to detect gravitational waves online for the first Science Run of LIGO next year.


  • The 800-member international LIGO Scientific Collaboration, most direct collaboration comes from Caltech at CA and Tsinhua University in China.