Reproducing GW150914: The First Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger

Duncan A. Brown, Karan Vahi, Michela Taufer, Von Welch, Ewa Deelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In 2016, LIGO and Virgo announced the first observation of gravitational waves from a binary black hole merger, known as GW150914. To establish the confidence of this detection, large-scale scientific workflows were used to measure the event's statistical significance. They used code written by the LIGO/Virgo and were executed on the LIGO Data Grid. The codes are publicly available, but there has not yet been an attempt to directly reproduce the results, although several analyses have replicated the analysis, confirming the detection. We attempt to reproduce the result presented in the GW150914 discovery paper using publicly available code on the Open Science Grid. We show that we can reproduce the main result but we cannot exactly reproduce the LIGO analysis as the original dataset used is not public. We discuss the challenges we encountered and make recommendations for scientists who wish to make their work reproducible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9353979
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalComputing in Science and Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Engineering


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