Gravitational Waveform Modeling

Our group is actively contributing to the modeling, detection and characterization of gravitational wave sources across the gravitational wave spectrum. We address topical and timely scientific problems from a multidisciplinary perspective, encompassing: analytical and numerical relativity, machine and deep learning. This unique approach enables us to push the frontiers of gravitational wave source modeling and signal processing techniques.

The study of eccentric compact binaries by Peters and Mathews (Phys. Rev. 131 435, 1963) is well known in the gravitational wave source modeling community. Recent work in the NCSA Gravity Group extended this seminal study to shed light into the of physics of eccentric compact binaries in the context of pulsar timing arrays. This work involved the development of new mathematical tools to obtain exact analytical solutions for infinite summations of Bessel functions .

Given the recent detection of gravitational waves by Advanced LIGO (aLIGO), we devote significant attention to the study of compact sources that may be detectable by ground-based gravitational wave detectors. Recent contributions on this front include the development of inspiral-merger-ringdown (IMR) waveforms models that describe compact binary coalescence in dense stellar environments.

The first comprehensive study on the impact of eccentricity, one of the cleanest signatures for the existence of compact populations in dense stellar environments, for the first two gravitational wave transients detected by aLIGO was carried out by NCSA Gravity Group members and colleagues in Canada and the US .

We are now developing the second generation of our eccentric IMR waveform model. To validate it, we are using a large catalog of eccentric numerical relativity simulations, which we have obtained with the Einstein Toolkit on the Blue Waters supercomputer and XSEDE. We are using this model, and our numerical relativity catalog, as the basis for the development of deep learning algorithms for the detection of eccentric compact binary coalescence.

Furthermore, we are working with LIGO colleagues to quantify the sensitivity of existing matched-filtering and burst search algorithms to eccentric compact binary sources.


Huerta, E. A., McWilliams, S. T., Gair, J. R., & Taylor, S. R. (2015). Detection of eccentric supermassive black hole binaries with pulsar timing arrays: Signal-to-noise ratio calculations. Physical Review D, 92(6), 063010.
Huerta, E. A., Kumar, P., Agarwal, B., George, D., Schive, H.-Y., Pfeiffer, H. P., Haas, R., Ren, W., Chu, T., Boyle, M., Hemberger, D. A., Kidder, L. E., Scheel, M. A., & Szilagyi, B. (2017). Complete waveform model for compact binaries on eccentric orbits. Physical Review D, 95(2), 024038.