Research in the division Observational Relativity and Cosmology is focused on the direct observational consequences of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, particularly as it relates to astrophysics and cosmology.
The most important research area of our division is the development and implementation of data analysis algorithms to search for the four different expected types of gravitational wave sources. This includes burst, stochastic, continuous wave, and inspiral signals in data from ground-based gravitational wave detectors. As part of an international data-sharing collaboration, group members currently have full access to data from the most sensitive five detectors instruments available (3 x LIGO, 1 x Virgo and 1 x GEO). This access to the world's best data will continue in the future through several international collaborative data-sharing agreements.
Searches for weak gravitational wave signals are very compute-intensive. In some cases, the lack of computing resources makes the searches substantially less sensitive than would be possible using the same experimental data, but with infinite computing power. For this reason, one of the central activities of the group is to maintain and increase the computing resources available to us. The group operates the ATLAS computing cluster, which is the world's largest and most powerful resource dedicated to gravitational wave searches and data analysis. It also plays a leading role in the Einstein@Home project, which uses computing power donated by the general public to search for gravitational waves and electromagnetic emission from neutron stars.