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Computational Challenges in the Search for Gravitational Waves

April 4, 2006

  • Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2006 
  • Time: 11:00 am — 12:15 pm 
  • Place: Woodward 149

Dr. Kipp Cannon 
Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Although nearly 100 years have passed since they were first described theoretically, gravitational waves, one of the many predictions of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, have never been observed directly. LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory), is an ambitious project to search for and detect these ripples in the curvature of spacetime.

The three LIGO instruments produce 15,000 channels of time-series data. This, our fifth science run, will produce nearly a petabyte of data spanning tens of millions of files in a half dozen compute facilities.

In this talk, I will give an overview of the search for gravitational waves, and then discuss some of the interesting computing challenges the effort to analyze LIGO data creates.