Avoiding selection bias in gravitational wave astronomy

Messenger, C. and Veitch, J. (2013) Avoiding selection bias in gravitational wave astronomy. New Journal of Physics, 15, 053027. 053027. (doi:10.1088/1367-2630/15/5/053027)

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When searching for gravitational waves in the data from ground-based gravitational wave detectors, it is common to use a detection threshold to reduce the number of background events which are unlikely to be the signals of interest. However, imposing such a threshold will also discard some real signals with low amplitude, which can potentially bias any inferences drawn from the population of detected signals. We show how this selection bias is naturally avoided by using the full information from the search, considering both the selected data and our ignorance of the data that are thrown away, and considering all relevant signal and noise models. This approach produces unbiased estimates of parameters even in the presence of false alarms and incomplete data. This can be seen as an extension of previous methods into the high false rate regime where we are able to show that the quality of parameter inference can be optimized by lowering thresholds and increasing the false alarm rate.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Messenger, Dr Christopher and Veitch, Dr John
Authors: Messenger, C., and Veitch, J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:New Journal of Physics
Publisher:IOP Publishing
ISSN (Online):1367-2630
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
First Published:First published in New Journal of Physics 15:053027
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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