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Scientists want your help studying black holes — and you can do it from your own home!
When black holes collide, they disrupt the fabric of space-time and send ripples through the cosmos known as gravitational waves. By measuring those waves, scientists can learn more about the properties of the black-hole merger that created them. However, interpreting that data requires a tremendous amount of computing power. That's where citizen scientists come in.
Team - Researchers - West - Virginia - University
A team of researchers at West Virginia University is recruiting volunteers to help advance our understanding of black holes by running collision simulations from home on their personal computers. The collaborative project, named "BlackHoles@Home," aims to reduce the cost of studying gravitational waves from black hole collisions by avoiding having to pay for access to supercomputers — enormous computing machines that can do up to hundreds of quadrillions of calculations per second but can be expensive to rent.
BlackHoles@Home is "an in-development volunteer computing project in which we are going to be enlisting large numbers of the general public to donate their spare CPU cycles to advance very important research into gravitational waves," Zachariah Etienne, a professor of mathematics at West Virginia University and leader of the BlackHoles@Home project, said during a meeting of the American Physical Society in Denver on April 15.
Gravitational - Information - Holes - Etienne - Information
Gravitational waves "encode critically important information about black holes," Etienne said, "but extracting the information about the black holes themselves, maximizing the science product from their detection — from these hard-fought observations — is a really tough thing to do." This involves comparing observations, or the "wiggles" in space-time, with hundreds of millions of theoretical predictions that are based on the mathematical solutions to Einstein's equations...
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