Machine learning applications in search algorithms for gravitational waves from compact binary mergers

Abstract

Gravitational waves from compact binary mergers are now routinely observed by Earth-bound detectors. These observations enable exciting new science, as they have opened a new window to the Universe. However, extracting gravitational-wave signals from the noisy detector data is a challenging problem. The most sensitive search algorithms for compact binary mergers use matched filtering, an algorithm that compares the data with a set of expected template signals. As detectors are upgraded and more sophisticated signal models become available, the number of required templates will increase, which can make some sources computationally prohibitive to search for. The computational cost is of particular concern when low-latency alerts should be issued to maximize the time for electromagnetic follow-up observations. One potential solution to reduce computational requirements that has started to be explored in the last decade is machine learning. However, different proposed deep learning searches target varying parameter spaces and use metrics that are not always comparable to existing literature. Consequently, a clear picture of the capabilities of machine learning searches has been sorely missing. In this thesis, we closely examine the sensitivity of various deep learning gravitational-wave search algorithms and introduce new methods to detect signals from binary black hole and binary neutron star mergers at previously untested statistical confidence levels. By using the sensitive distance as our core metric, we allow for a direct comparison of our algorithms to state-of-the-art search pipelines. As part of this thesis, we organized a global mock data challenge to create a benchmark for machine learning search algorithms targeting compact binaries. This way, the tools developed in this thesis are made available to the greater community by publishing them as open source software. Our studies show that, depending on the parameter space, deep learning gravitational-wave search algorithms are already competitive with current production search pipelines. We also find that strategies developed for traditional searches can be effectively adapted to their machine learning counterparts. In regions where matched filtering becomes computationally expensive, available deep learning algorithms are also limited in their capability. We find reduced sensitivity to long duration signals compared to the excellent results for short-duration binary black hole signals

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