Dr. Maria Alessandra Papa

Callinstraße 38

30167 Hannover


Dr. Maria Alessandra Papa

Dr. Maria Alessandra Papa

Dr. Maria Alessandra Papa


Research Group Leader


  • +49 511 762-17160


  • +49 511 762-17182



Main Focus

The goal of my research is to detect a continuous gravitational wave signal (CW). I coordinate the deployment of the Einstein@Home CW searches on LIGO and Virgo data and the mining of the results. These searches have consistently been the deepest searches on any data set and, in the absence of a detection, they have provided the tightest constraints on the amplitude of CW signals at Earth [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Hand in hand with this work on the data goes the improvement of the search methods, the development of optimisation techniques to pick the most promising signals to search for and investigations to explore different emission mechanisms [7, 8, 9].

CW searches are computationally limited. For this reason we use the Einstein@Home volunteer computing project, with its Petaflop performance, as our main work-horse. There is a non-trivial overhead associated to setting-up each Einstein@Home search, which must run flawlessly on hundreds of thousands of different computer architectures and operating systems.

Access to advanced LIGO/Virgo data is an amazing opportunity to make the first detection of a continuous gravitational wave signal. Directly through my own work and by coordinating the work of a broader group of people, this is what I strive to achieve.

Recent publications
[1]  LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Results of the deepest all-sky survey for continuous gravitational waves on LIGO S6 data running on the Einstein at Home volunteer distributed computing project. LIGO document P1600156, arXiv:1606.09619, submitted to Phys. Rev. D., 2016.

[2]  Avneet Singh et al. Results of an all-sky high-frequency Einstein@Home search for continuous gravitational waves in LIGO 5th Science Run. LIGO document P1600196, arXiv:1607.00745, accepted for publication in Phys. Rev. D, 2016. 

[3]  J. Sylvia Zhu et al. Results of the deepest Einstein@Home search for continuous gravitational waves from CasA from the S6 LIGO Science Run. LIGO document P1600212, arXiv:1608:07589, submitted for publication to Phys. Rev. D, 2016. 

[4]  M.A. Papa et al. Hierarchical follow-up of sub-threshold candidates of an all-sky Einstein@home search for continuous gravitational waves on LIGO S6 data. LIGO document P1600213, arXiv:1608:08928, submitted for publication to Phys. Rev. D., 2016.

[5]  LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Directed search for continuous gravitational waves from the Galactic center. Phys. Rev. D, 88(10):102002, 2013. 

[6]  Sinead Walsh et al. A comparison of methods for the detection of gravitational waves from unknown neutron stars. 2016, arXiv:1606.00660, submitted for publication to Phys. Rev. D., 2016.

[7]  Berit Behnke, Maria Alessandra Papa, and Reinhard Prix. Postprocessing methods used in the search for continuous gravitational-wave signals from the Galactic Center. Phys. Rev., D91(6):064007, 2015, 1410.5997. 

[8]  David Keitel, Reinhard Prix, Maria Alessandra Papa, Paola Leaci, and Maham Siddiqi. Search for continuous gravitational waves: Improving robustness versus instrumental artifacts. Phys. Rev., D89(6):064023, 2014, 1311.5738. 

[9]  Jing Ming, Badri Krishnan, Maria Alessandra Papa, Carsten Aulbert, and Henning Fehrmann. Optimal directed searches for continuous gravitational waves. Phys. Rev., D93(6):064011, 2016, 1510.03417. 

Organizational Unit (Department, Group, Facility):

  • Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity
  • Location Hannover
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