Searching for gravitational-wave transients with a qualitative signal model: Seedless clustering strategies

Eric Thrane, Michael Coughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Gravitational-wave bursts are observable as bright clusters of pixels in spectrograms of strain power. Clustering algorithms can be used to identify candidate gravitational-wave events. Clusters are often identified by grouping together seed pixels in which the power exceeds some threshold. If the gravitational-wave signal is long-lived, however, the excess power may be spread out over many pixels, none of which are bright enough to become seeds. Without seeds, the problem of detection through clustering becomes more complicated. In this paper, we investigate seedless clustering algorithms in searches for long-lived narrow-band gravitational-wave bursts. Using four astrophysically motivated test waveforms, we compare a seedless clustering algorithm to two algorithms using seeds. We find that the seedless algorithm can detect gravitational-wave signals (at a fixed false-alarm and false-dismissal rate) at distances between 1.5-2× those achieved with the seed-based clustering algorithms, corresponding to significantly increased detection volumes: 4.2-7.4×. This improvement in sensitivity may extend the reach of second-generation detectors such as Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo deeper into astrophysically interesting distances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number083010
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 22 2013
Externally publishedYes


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