Non-parametric inference of the population of compact binaries from gravitational wave observations using binned Gaussian processes
The observation of gravitational waves from multiple compact binary coalescences by the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA detector networks has enabled us to infer the underlying distribution of compact binaries across a wide range of masses, spins, and redshifts. In light of the new features found in the mass spectrum of binary black holes and the uncertainty regarding binary formation models, non-parametric population inference has become increasingly popular. In this work, we develop a data-driven clustering framework that can identify features in the component mass distribution of compact binaries simultaneously with those in the corresponding redshift distribution, from gravitational wave data in the presence of significant measurement uncertainties, while making very few assumptions on the functional form of these distributions. Our generalized model is capable of inferring correlations among various population properties such as the redshift evolution of the shape of the mass distribution itself, in contrast to most existing non-parametric inference schemes. We test our model on simulated data and demonstrate the accuracy with which it can re-construct the underlying distributions of component masses and redshifts. We also re-analyze public LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA data from events in GWTC-3 using our model and compare our results with those from some alternative parametric and non-parametric population inference approaches. Finally, we investigate the potential presence of correlations between mass and redshift in the population of binary black holes in GWTC-3 (those observed by the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA detector network in their first 3 observing runs), without making any assumptions about the specific nature of these correlations.
- Pub Date:
- April 2023
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology