A Caltech Library Service

Numerical relativity waveform surrogate model for generically precessing binary black hole mergers

Blackman, Jonathan and Field, Scott E. and Scheel, Mark A. and Galley, Chad R. and Ott, Christian D. and Boyle, Michael and Kidder, Lawrence E. and Pfeiffer, Harald P. and Szilágyi, Béla (2017) Numerical relativity waveform surrogate model for generically precessing binary black hole mergers. Physical Review D, 96 (2). Art. No. 024058. ISSN 2470-0010.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


A generic, noneccentric binary black hole (BBH) system emits gravitational waves (GWs) that are completely described by seven intrinsic parameters: the black hole spin vectors and the ratio of their masses. Simulating a BBH coalescence by solving Einstein’s equations numerically is computationally expensive, requiring days to months of computing resources for a single set of parameter values. Since theoretical predictions of the GWs are often needed for many different source parameters, a fast and accurate model is essential. We present the first surrogate model for GWs from the coalescence of BBHs including all seven dimensions of the intrinsic noneccentric parameter space. The surrogate model, which we call NRSur7dq2, is built from the results of 744 numerical relativity simulations. NRSur7dq2 covers spin magnitudes up to 0.8 and mass ratios up to 2, includes all ℓ≤4 modes, begins about 20 orbits before merger, and can be evaluated in ∼50  ms. We find the largest NRSur7dq2 errors to be comparable to the largest errors in the numerical relativity simulations, and more than an order of magnitude smaller than the errors of other waveform models. Our model, and more broadly the methods developed here, will enable studies that were not previously possible when using highly accurate waveforms, such as parameter inference and tests of general relativity with GW observations.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Blackman, Jonathan0000-0002-7113-0289
Ott, Christian D.0000-0003-4993-2055
Kidder, Lawrence E.0000-0001-5392-7342
Pfeiffer, Harald P.0000-0001-9288-519X
Additional Information:© 2017 American Physical Society. Received 22 May 2017; published 31 July 2017. We thank Matt Giesler for helping to carry out the new SpEC simulations used in this work. We thank Saul Teukolsky, Patricia Schmidt, Rory Smith, and Vijay Varma for helpful discussions. This work was supported in part by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and by NSF Grants No. CAREER PHY-1151197, No. PHY-1404569, No. AST-1333129, and No. PHY-1606654. Computations were performed on NSF/NCSA Blue Waters under allocation PRAC ACI-1440083; on the NSF XSEDE network under Grant No. TG-PHY100033; and on the Zwicky cluster at Caltech, which is supported by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and by NSF Grant No. PHY-0960291. This paper has been assigned YITP report number YITP-17-44.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170801-103324737
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79675
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:01 Aug 2017 19:09
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

Repository Staff Only: item control page