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Phys Rev Lett. 2014 Jul 11;113(2):021101. Epub 2014 Jul 7.

Sparse representations of gravitational waves from precessing compact binaries.

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Theoretical Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.
Theoretical Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA and Center for Scientific Computation and Mathematical Modeling, and Joint Space Sciences Institute, Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics, Department of Physics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


Many relevant applications in gravitational wave physics share a significant common problem: the seven-dimensional parameter space of gravitational waveforms from precessing compact binary inspirals and coalescences is large enough to prohibit covering the space of waveforms with sufficient density. We find that by using the reduced basis method together with a parametrization of waveforms based on their phase and precession, we can construct ultracompact yet high-accuracy representations of this large space. As a demonstration, we show that less than 100 judiciously chosen precessing inspiral waveforms are needed for 200 cycles, mass ratios from 1 to 10, and spin magnitudes ≤0.9. In fact, using only the first 10 reduced basis waveforms yields a maximum mismatch of 0.016 over the whole range of considered parameters. We test whether the parameters selected from the inspiral regime result in an accurate reduced basis when including merger and ringdown; we find that this is indeed the case in the context of a nonprecessing effective-one-body model. This evidence suggests that as few as ∼100 numerical simulations of binary black hole coalescences may accurately represent the seven-dimensional parameter space of precession waveforms for the considered ranges.

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