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The Observational Relativity and Cosmology Division

The worldwide network of ground-based gravitational-wave detectors collects large volumes of data. Researchers of the Observational Relativity and Cosmology division are the largest team specialized in data analysis in the international scientific community. They develop and implement advanced and efficient data analysis methods to search for weak gravitational-wave signals in the LIGO and Virgo detector data streams and to characterize them afterwards. These methods enabled the first discovery of a gravitational wave in September 2015; members of the group were the first to identify this signal as well as the later GW170104 and GW170608 events. The majority of the worldwide computational resources for the analysis of these data are provided by the AEI computer cluster Atlas, which consists of more than 42,000 CPU cores and 1,000,000 GPU cores.

The division also plays a leading role in the distributed volunteer computing project Einstein@Home. Volunteers from all around the world participate in the search for unknown neutron stars by donating idle computing time on their PCs, laptops, or smartphones. Einstein@Home searches for neutron stars in data from gravitational-wave detectors, from the Fermi gamma-ray satellite, and from large radio telescopes. More than 70 new neutron stars have already been discovered in the radio and gamma-ray data.

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