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  1. Abstract

    The Gravity Spy project aims to uncover the origins of glitches, transient bursts of noise that hamper analysis of gravitational-wave data. By using both the work of citizen-science volunteers and machine learning algorithms, the Gravity Spy project enables reliable classification of glitches. Citizen science and machine learning are intrinsically coupled within the Gravity Spy framework, with machine learning classifications providing a rapid first-pass classification of the dataset and enabling tiered volunteer training, and volunteer-based classifications verifying the machine classifications, bolstering the machine learning training set and identifying new morphological classes of glitches. These classifications are now routinely used in studies characterizing the performance of the LIGO gravitational-wave detectors. Providing the volunteers with a training framework that teaches them to classify a wide range of glitches, as well as additional tools to aid their investigations of interesting glitches, empowers them to make discoveries of new classes of glitches. This demonstrates that, when giving suitable support, volunteers can go beyond simple classification tasks to identify new features in data at a level comparable to domain experts. The Gravity Spy project is now providing volunteers with more complicated data that includes auxiliary monitors of the detector to identify the root cause of glitches.

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  2. Abstract

    There are few observed high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) that harbor massive black holes (BHs), and none are likely to result in a binary black hole (BBH) that merges within a Hubble time; however, we know that massive merging BBHs exist from gravitational-wave (GW) observations. We investigate the role that X-ray and GW observational selection effects play in determining the properties of their respective detected binary populations. We find that, as a result of selection effects, detectable HMXBs and detectable BBHs form at different redshifts and metallicities, with detectable HMXBs forming at much lower redshifts and higher metallicities than detectable BBHs. We also find disparities in the mass distributions of these populations, with detectable merging BBH progenitors pulling to higher component masses relative to the full detectable HMXB population. Fewer than 3% of detectable HMXBs host BHs >35Min our simulated populations. Furthermore, we find the probability that a detectable HMXB will merge as a BBH system within a Hubble time is ≃0.6%. Thus, it is unsurprising that no currently observed HMXB is predicted to form a merging BBH with high probability.

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  3. Abstract

    Mass measurements from low-mass black hole X-ray binaries (LMXBs) and radio pulsars have been used to identify a gap between the most massive neutron stars (NSs) and the least massive black holes (BHs). BH mass measurements in LMXBs are typically only possible for transient systems: outburst periods enable detection via all-sky X-ray monitors, while quiescent periods enable radial velocity measurements of the low-mass donor. We quantitatively study selection biases due to the requirement of transient behavior for BH mass measurements. Using rapid population synthesis simulations (COSMIC), detailed binary stellar-evolution models (MESA), and the disk instability model of transient behavior, we demonstrate that transient LMXB selection effects introduce observational biases, and can suppress mass-gap BHs in the observed sample. However, we find a population of transient LMXBs with mass-gap BHs form through accretion-induced collapse of an NS during the LMXB phase, which is inconsistent with observations. These results are robust against variations of binary evolution prescriptions. The significance of this accretion-induced collapse population depends upon the maximum NS birth massMNS,birthmax. To reflect the observed dearth of low-mass BHs,COSMICandMESAmodels favorMNS,birthmax2M. In the absence of further observational biases against LMXBs with mass-gap BHs, our results indicate the need for additional physics connected to the modeling of LMXB formation and evolution.

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  4. Abstract

    Gravitational-wave observations of binary black hole (BBH) systems point to black hole spin magnitudes being relatively low. These measurements appear in tension with high spin measurements for high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs). We use grids of MESA simulations combined with the rapid population-synthesis code COSMIC to examine the origin of these two binary populations. It has been suggested that Case-A mass transfer while both stars are on the main sequence can form high-spin BHs in HMXBs. Assuming this formation channel, we show that depending on the critical mass ratios for the stability of mass transfer, 48%–100% of these Case-A HMXBs merge during the common-envelope phase and up to 42% result in binaries too wide to merge within a Hubble time. Both MESA and COSMIC show that high-spin HMXBs formed through Case-A mass transfer can only form merging BBHs within a small parameter space where mass transfer can lead to enough orbital shrinkage to merge within a Hubble time. We find that only up to 11% of these Case-A HMXBs result in BBH mergers, and at most 20% of BBH mergers came from Case-A HMXBs. Therefore, it is not surprising that these two spin distributions are observed to be different.

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  6. Abstract

    Binary stars undergo a variety of interactions and evolutionary phases, critical for predicting and explaining observations. Binary population synthesis with full simulation of stellar structure and evolution is computationally expensive, requiring a large number of mass-transfer sequences. The recently developed binary population synthesis codePOSYDONincorporates grids ofMESAbinary star simulations that are interpolated to model large-scale populations of massive binaries. The traditional method of computing a high-density rectilinear grid of simulations is not scalable for higher-dimension grids, accounting for a range of metallicities, rotation, and eccentricity. We present a new active learning algorithm,psy-cris, which uses machine learning in the data-gathering process to adaptively and iteratively target simulations to run, resulting in a custom, high-performance training set. We testpsy-crison a toy problem and find the resulting training sets require fewer simulations for accurate classification and regression than either regular or randomly sampled grids. We further applypsy-cristo the target problem of building a dynamic grid ofMESAsimulations, and we demonstrate that, even without fine tuning, a simulation set of only ∼1/4 the size of a rectilinear grid is sufficient to achieve the same classification accuracy. We anticipate further gains when algorithmic parameters are optimized for the targeted application. We find that optimizing for classification only may lead to performance losses in regression, and vice versa. Lowering the computational cost of producing grids will enable new population synthesis codes such asPOSYDONto cover more input parameters while preserving interpolation accuracies.

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