PyData Edinburgh: Hyper-fast gravitational wave parameter estimation

Python 2 dead: Long live Python 3!

Welcome to a new decade and and a new year of PyData Edinburgh!

We're delighted to kick off 2020 with graduate student, Hunter Gabbard, from Glasgow University, who is going to tell us about the data science of detecting and analysing gravity waves. We will also have lightning talks and community announcements, all accompanied by refreshments and followed by pizza.

Please RVSP if you can join us at Solar Winds Edinburgh office.

This may be your last chance to see Thomas Kober, who's sadly departing for Berlin, so you surely wouldn't want to miss giving him a proper PyData Edinburgh send-off!


After the groundbreaking discovery of gravitational waves in 2015, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) detectors have continued to see a steady stream of upgrades to their performance. As our gravitational wave detectors become more sensitive, rather than seeing a handful of signals per observation run we will see many hundreds of signals. Although the algorithms we use to extract the physical properties of detected signals are optimal, they are not fast enough to deal with the sheer deluge of gravitational wave data we expect to gather in the near future. Using a novel application of machine learning (conditional variational autoencoders) we show for the first time that we are able to achieve a level of 6–7 orders of magnitude speed-up in performance over existing techniques.


Hunter Gabbard is an astrophysicist and PhD Candidate at the University of Glasgow. After having completed his B.S. in Physics at the University of Mississippi, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State for research at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover, Germany. In 2015, he was fortunate enough to have been on the Nobel Prize winning team (LIGO) which discovered gravitational waves. Over the course of his PhD Hunter has continued research in the now burgeoning field of gravitational-wave astronomy.


We still have a few spaces for some lightning talks this month — share your stories! Share your successes & failures! Share your hints & tips! Whether you are a beginner or an expert, we want to hear from you.

If you want to give a lightning talk at this event, send us a message either here on Meetup, through Twitter @PyDataEdinburgh or any other way you know how to find us!

Just 5 minutes, still informal, no need for slides unless you want them — go on, give it a go!


Please RSVP to come to this event :)

1815: Doors open, drinks & networking
1845: Talks start — welcome & community announcements followed by our main speaker, then lightning talks.
We'll end the evening with pizza and more refreshments, wrapping up by 2100.


As always, we couldn't do this without our sponsors help to provide a venue and drink & pizzas and for this event — Cathcart Associates, Wood Mackenzie, Solar Winds, Lloyds Banking Group and Canon Medical


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Thank you for helping us to maintain a welcoming and friendly PyData community!

Picture credit: Dr Dennis Bogdan (original) and Yinweichen (SVG rendering)

License: Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

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