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User profile Profile Bruce Allen
I am Director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (the Albert Einstein Institute) in Hannover Germany and a professor of physics at...


First search on the advanced-generation LIGO detector data
The first E@h search on the advanced-generation LIGO detector data (O1) has started ! We are searching the sky for gravitational wave signals with frequencies between 20 Hz and 100 Hz. We have packed two searches in a single application: one for standard ever-lasting continuous gravitational waves and the other for continuous signals lasting only some days. The run was designed to last no more than a few months because we have a long list of exciting searches that we want to launch on the O1 data: we want to look at frequencies above 100 Hz and also concentrate our computing power on a few specific promising objects.

Since the last gravitational wave run we have developed a faster application that hinges on the power of the Fast Fourier Transform algorithm. There is no such thing as a free lunch so we are paying a price for this : the performance of our application depends now on the size of the cache of the volunteer computer that it is running on. In order to be able to assign credit fairly for the work done by all volunteer hosts and in order to balance well the computational load among the different hosts, we have split the work for this search in two separate runs for different host classes. A work-unit from any of these runs is equally likely to harbour a signal and both runs are crucial to the search!

M.Alessandra Papa for the E@H team
9 Mar 2016, 14:34:10 UTC · Comment

Discovery of 13 new gamma-ray pulsars by Einstein@Home volunteers
The 4th Einstein@Home survey for gamma-ray pulsars, or "FGRP4", using data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is currently nearing completion. This survey has incorporated many new advances that we learned during our previous investigation of blind search methods. In addition, we were able to utilize the superior "Pass 8" data from the Fermi-LAT team, and search in longer data sets than ever before. In combination, these improvements led to FGRP4 being our most sensitive survey to date.

We are very pleased to be able to announce a first set of results from FGRP4 - the discovery of 13 new gamma-ray pulsars!
Congratulations to:

UW-Madison CAE (USA)
RUElwell (USA)
Delty (USA)
KataJun (Japan)
Syracuse University (USA)
PeRu (Czech Republic)
Bryden Kanngiesser (Canada)
fred c (USA)
Gabriel Vasquez
Greg Dorais (USA)
xio.nyc (Antarctica)
Hung Tran (USA)
Eric Schwartz (USA)
Aurelien FAUCHEUX (France)
Roger (USA)
gramoll (USA)
Rogir (Germany)

This brings the total number of gamma-ray pulsars discovered by Einstein@Home volunteers to 18. Further details and plots of all the new discoveries are available here!

We are currently working very hard to study all of the results from FGRP4, and we are hoping to present these in a series of papers in the near future. For now, as FGRP4 begins to wind down, we are excited to announce the start of our next survey, "FGRPB1". The "B" here stands for "binary"; for the first time, Einstein@Home will be used to also search for gamma-ray pulsars in orbits with companion stars.

Thank you to everyone participating in Einstein@Home, your contribution has enabled these fantastic discoveries!

Holger Pletsch, Project Scientist and Research Group Leader
22 Feb 2016, 18:45:11 UTC · Comment

Exciting news: Gravitational Waves detected!
We want to share our excitement about the first-ever direct detection of gravitational waves! The event happened right before the beginning of the first observing run of the advanced LIGO detectors, on 14 September 2015. The waves were generated as two black holes merged into a single black hole about 1.3 billion light years from Earth. In astronomy units this is 410 Mpc, approximately 10% of the way across the visible Universe!

Just as exciting: this is also the first-ever observation of binary black holes. In fact, since black holes are black, and emit no light or electromagnetic radiation, this is the only way we can see them.

Did Einstein@Home play any role in this? No, it didn’t. The signal in the instrument lasted only about 1/4 of a second. It’s not a continuous-wave signal like the type that Einstein@Home has been searching for. But since the observing run ended in mid January, we have been preparing the data to start a new low-frequency all-sky search for continuous gravitational waves. We are now starting to run this on Einstein@Home, so please sign up your computers and disable their sleep mode! In the next months we will extend the frequency range of the continuous waves all-sky searches, target interesting point sources and we are also gearing up to perform broader surveys for binary black hole mergers.

Bruce Allen
Director, Einstein@Home
11 Feb 2016, 16:04:09 UTC · Comment

Public Update on first Advanced LIGO Observing Run
Dear Einstein@Home Volunteers,

Following the completion of the first Advanced LIGO Observing Run, the LIGO Laboratory and LIGO Scientific Collaboration will give a public update on the status and results on Thursday February 11th at 10:30 US Eastern Time.

Bruce Allen
Director, Einstein@Home
9 Feb 2016, 7:57:14 UTC · Comment

Second Einstein@Home newsletter
Dear Einstein@Home volunteers,

the five-year upgrade of the LIGO detectors has been completed and we are a large step closer to the first direct detection of gravitational waves, which will mark the beginning of a new era of astronomy. As we are writing this newsletter, Advanced LIGO is beginning its first observation run “O1” after an extensive comissioning phase and a series of “engineering runs”. The Einstein@Home team is truly excited and is looking forward to the most sensitive gravitational-wave data ever recorded.

In the first week of September more than 200 gravitational-wave scientists from the LIGO Virgo Scientific Collaboration gathered in Budapest for their fall meeting. Many Einstein@Home team members were present and reported on their ongoing gravitational-wave searches. During the meeting, the seventh issue of the LIGO Magazine was published, featuring a four page article on Einstein@Home. You can read it for free at [1].

Our second newsletter this year features news from the project administration and updates from our three searches for rapidly rotating neutron stars (through gravitational waves, radio waves, and gamma rays). We are very happy to report three new discoveries! One was made in data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, and three were made in data from the Arecibo Radio Telescope. See below for more details on the discoveries.

Note that we are advertising a position for an Einstein@Home computational scientist at UWM in Milwaukee [2]. If you have the required skills and interest, please apply!

(Posted on behalf of) Bruce Allen, Director, Einstein@Home
1 Oct 2015, 5:58:39 UTC · Comment

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grants PHY-1104902, PHY-1104617 and PHY-1105572 and by the Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the investigators and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or the MPG.

Copyright © 2016 Bruce Allen