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  GEO600 Data Analysis

The GEO600 gravitational wave detector is contributing to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), an international effort to directly measure the effects of gravitational waves, as predicted in Einstein's theory of general relativity.

GEO600 is operated by the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Albert Einstein Institute (AEI) in Hannover, Germany. The laser interferometer device has an arm length of 600m. Since its start of operation in 2005 it has been continuously measuring data which needs to be filtered for potential signal patterns of gravitational wave sources.

A view of the GEO600 laser interferometer Screen shot of the Einstein@Home screen saver


To process the vast amount of data that is being generated by GEO600 and other detectors, the Einstein@Home software framework was developed. It uses BOINC as underlying middleware to split the data analysis into small computational tasks that can be distributed to available computers on the Internet and executed on any commodity hardware.

Einstein@Home is managing the execution of these tasks on a large set of computational resources distributed world wide. What appears to be a screen saver to the layman is in fact a supercomputer providing 70TFlops/s to the search for gravitational waves.

AstroGrid-D use case GEO600

GEO600 was identified as an ideal science use case to benefit from Grid computing. In the AstroGrid-D project we developed a grid-enabled framework around Einstein@Home. It uses the Globus 4 toolkit as standard Grid middleware. After the software has automatically deployed itself on a new Grid machine, an automated mechanism then takes care of continuously submitting jobs to available resources and maintaining their status.

Since October 2007 our GEO600 grid application has been running in production mode on a large number of supercomputers, clusters, and PCs within D-Grid in Germany and on the Open Science Grid (OSG) in the U.S. Achieving a throughput of several thousands of jobs per day, we now rank within the top 5 teams world wide to contribute to the Einstein@Home project. A GEO600 use case statistics is presented in the AstroGrid-D portal where you can view the number of job submissions and CPU hours spent on GEO600 data analysis over the last months.


GEO600 is a Grid use case developed within the AstroGrid-D project and in close collaboration with the D-MON project. Both projects are members of and funded by the German Grid Initiative D-Grid. The use case was designed and implemented by the eScience group at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Albert Einstein Institute (AEI).

If you are interested to learn more about GEO600 on the Grid, have any suggestions or want to provide feedback, please contact AEI's eScience group via its mailing list eScience(at)aei. mpg.de.