Sun, wonderful locations, tasty food and fun!

These the ingredients for the winning recipe of the first GraWIToN Network school.

Recently we, GraWIToN Early Stage Researchers, had the pleasure of attending the first GraWIToN network school. It took place at the EGO site (Pisa -Italy), where Virgo, one of the most sensitive ground-based gravitational wave detector, is located. Here, we finally met for the first time, all the 12 of us just employed, and not only us but also other students!

The School lasted three very busy, but also very interesting, weeks. The classes were obviously focused on subjects related to gravitational waves (GWs) and GW detections. The extraordinary lesson that I personally learnt from this experience concerns the incredibly wide range of field covered by GW science. We followed about 100 hours of classes touching several different and fascinating topics, such as the theory of general relativity, stellar evolution, multi-messenger (electromagnetic counterpart of GWs), optics, statistics, outreach and so on. We had the pleasure of listening to more than twenty teachers, coming from several European Universities and companies, who brought with them different experiences and backgrounds, which made their teaching unique. This experience was also enriched with laboratories and group activities, which gave us the change of knowing something more about each other and about ourselves. Within this very stimulating atmosphere, the really great food and the fantastic weather, I still think that the most important aspect of this experience, was the people. Extraordinary and very different people. Different in cultures, in stories, in minds but with the common passion for science.

I really enjoyed the time spent with all the people who attended the school, within and outside the scientific context. I think it was also very constructive to meet students coming from all over the world and to see how, not despite the diversity, but with the diversity, we are able to interact, learn and hopefully contribute in the GW research. With this experience, I had seen in the flesh the strength of this project: having different people with very different interests and minds collaborating for a common task. So… I just want to thank everybody who participated, in any way, at the realization of this Network School: thank you!

After the great experience of the first GraWIToN Network School, everybody went back to their own host-institution, keeping working on the assigned research project. The same obviously happened to me, so that on the 11th of May I was back on my desk at Birmingham University. Here I’m splitting my time between trying to improve my astrophysical knowledge with meetings and very interesting astrophysical seminars, and working on my own project.

At the moment, this latter is focused on trying to speed up the Likelihood computation of LALInference code. This is the main pipeline for parameter estimation in the context of GWs emitted by compact binary coalescences. The main idea, which I’m working on, is to analyze a reduced number of data, taking advantage of the Sampling theorems. Indeed, they set the minimum resolution required, in both time and frequency domain, to recover all the information carried by the data. The point of the project is to optimise the analysis, consistently with this resolution-limit. Except a brief initial ‘experiment’ in time domain, my work has been focused on the frequency domain. In this context the aim is to optimise the choice of the frequencies over which we are interested. In practice this should give rise to a reduced frequency set which, in principle, will speed-up two of the most expensive operations of the performed analysis: the waveform computation and the likelihood calculation. At the moment, we are still evaluating the best approach to adopt: the aim is to implement a strategy where the final likelihood will provide small errors and will be relevant for general waveforms… work in progress!

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