Discovering features in gravitational-wave data through detector characterization, citizen science and machine learning

S. Soni, C. P.L. Berry, S. B. Coughlin, M. Harandi, C. B. Jackson, K. Crowston, C. Osterlund, O. Patane, A. K. Katsaggelos, L. Trouille, V. G. Baranowski, W. F. Domainko, K. Kaminski, M. A.Lobato Rodriguez, U. Marciniak, P. Nauta, G. Niklasch, R. R. Rote, B. Téglás, C. UnsworthC. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The observation of gravitational waves is hindered by the presence of transient noise (glitches). We study data from the third observing run of the Advanced LIGO detectors, and identify new glitch classes: fast scattering/crown and low-frequency blips. Using training sets assembled by monitoring of the state of the detector, and by citizen-science volunteers, we update the Gravity Spy machine-learning algorithm for glitch classification. We find that fast scattering/crown, linked to ground motion at the detector sites, is especially prevalent, and identify two subclasses linked to different types of ground motion. Reclassification of data based on the updated model finds that ∼27% of all transient noise at LIGO Livingston belongs to the fast scattering class, while ∼8% belongs to the low-frequency blip class, making them the most frequent and fourth most frequent sources of transient noise at that site. Our results demonstrate both how glitch classification can reveal potential improvements to gravitational-wave detectors, and how, given an appropriate framework, citizen-science volunteers may make discoveries in large data sets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number195016
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • LIGO
  • machine learning
  • neural network
  • noise classification
  • transient noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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