Computer Science Helped Prove Einstein’s Theory
Software developed by computer scientists at UW-Madison was critical to a recent discovery of gravitational waves
HTCondor High Throughput Computing (HTC) software developed by computer scientists at UW-Madison over the last three decades was critical to a recent discovery of gravitational waves. 100 years after Einstein announced his gravitational theory of relativity, researchers with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) announced their observation of the waves. Historically the waves have been difficult to detect due to vibration and noise interference on Earth – a simple passing of car or bus provides motion complications. Improvements to ground observations, the introduction of study in space, and sophisticated software have changed the game. The HTCondor played an integral part in the huge data analysis of particle collisions that took place.
“What started 15 years ago as a local Madison-Milwaukee collaboration turned into a computational framework for a new field of astronomy,” said Miron Livny, UW-Madison CS Professor and CTO for the Morgridge Institute for Research and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.
The discovery of gravitational waves will allow us further understanding of the universe at large, including wonders such as black holes and neutron stars – things we can’t necessarily see or observe.