Bringing LIGO Science to the Masses

CI: – Dr. Paul Lasky

Gravitational-wave signals detected by LIGO are analysed using a technique known as Bayesian parameter estimation. This method underpins all LIGO science, but is currently being done using LIGO software that is both difficult to use and poorly maintained. The entry point for beginners to start doing gravitational-wave science is prohibitively high.

At Monash, and as part of the OzGrav CoE, we are developing TUPAK: The User-friendly Parameter-EstimAtion Kode for gravitational-wave astronomy. TUPAK is a versatile gravitational-wave inference tool capable of performing almost all key functionality required in the modern era of gravitational-wave science, with an emphasis on ease-of-use for the user.

To date, our development has focussed entirely on the back-end system; the user is currently required to run TUPAK from the command line, and interact manually with high-performance clusters. The aim of this project is to develop a front-end system for TUPAK that interfaces with the OzStar computing cluster.

This project is significant; it will lower the entry point for astronomers and physicists without specific expertise in gravitational-wave astronomy to enter this burgeoning field. This will take gravitational-wave astronomy away from being a niche science, and deliver it as a mainstream field of study. We anticipate TUPAK to be a key resource for astrophysicists and theoretical physicists without specific expertise in gravitational-wave astronomy, as well as a broad range of gravitational-wave specialists, from instrumentalists to data analysists to astrophysicists.