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LIGO Seminar

Friday, April 12, 2024
11:00am to 12:00pm
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West Bridge 351 (LIGO Science Conference Room)
Uncovering the Origins of Binary Black Holes with Normalising Flows
Storm Colloms,
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Speaker: Storm Colloms

Title: Uncovering the Origins of Binary Black Holes with Normalising Flows

The growing number of gravitational-wave detections from compact-objects binaries enables more precise measurements of the population properties. The observed population is most likely drawn from multiple formation channels. Population-synthesis simulations allow detailed modelling of each of these channels. Comparing these models with the observations allows us to constrain the uncertain physics of compact-object binary formation and evolution. However, the most detailed population-synthesis codes are highly computationally expensive, taking on the of order months to run for a single set of input parameters. 

A solution to this computational challenge is the use of machine learning to emulate the predictions from population synthesis. I demonstrate the use of normalising flows to solve this problem, interpolating between the populations predicted for different simulation inputs, and using the emulated distributions for hierarchical inference, as well as the challenges of applying normalising flows to inference problems. Using population synthesis from leading formation channels as training data, I apply this approach to the current catalog of gravitational-wave observations to infer the branching ratios of different channels and details of binary stellar evolution.

For more information, please contact Lucy M Thomas by email at [email protected].