Numerical Relativity

The RIT's Numerical Relativity group is one of the largest and internationally renown group in the modeling and simulation of compact binaries in extreme astrophysical environments.

Numerical Relativity (NR) uses advanced numerical techniques in supercomputers to simulate the relativistic, strong-field dynamics and radiation of merging compact binaries, such as black holes and neutron stars, and other similar phenomena that are governed by Einstein's theory of General Relativity (GR). Analytical relativity (AR) methods, based on Post-Newtonian expansions of the GR equations and black-hole perturbation theory, are also used to study respectfully the early phases of the inspiral of compact object binaries and the resulting black-hole remnant.

Recent breakthroughs, in great part due to members of the group (e.g. see for example the moving puncture approach), have opened new frontiers in gravitational wave astrophysics. They have permitted the first calculations gravitational radiation from merging black holes with arbitrary masses abd spins, the discovery of large gravitational-radiation recoils (up to 4000 km/s) from merging spinning supermassive black-holes, the study of spin dynamics effects, such as spin-flips, precession and hang-up orbits and extreme mass-ratio binaries.

Combined general relativistic and magneto-hydrodynamics (GRMHD) simulations are used to model black hole - neutron star and neutron star - neutron star binaries.These astrophysical sources are believed to be the origin of gamma ray bursts (unexplained blasts of intense electromagnetic radiation). GRMHD simulations are also used to study and accretion disks around supermassive black holes and explore relativistic phenomena in active galactic nuclei such as jets in active galactic nuclei.

You can download our movies and waveforms data here.

The RIT's numerical relativity group is the largest group in our center. It currently includes: Manuela Campanelli (lead), Joshua Faber, Carlos Lousto, Hiroyuki Nakano, Scott Noble, Bruno Mundim, Marcelo Ponce and Yosef Zlochower.

NSF (PHY-0722315, PHY-0653303, PHY-0714388, PHY-0722703, OCI-0832606, PHY-0903782, PHY-0969855, AST-1028087), NASA ATPF (07-ATFP07-0158, 08-ATFP08-0093).

External Collaborations:

  • The Ninja Project – The goal of the Numerical Injection Analysis (NINJA) project is to bring the numerical relativity and data analysis communities together to pursue projects of common interest in the areas of gravitational‐wave detection, astrophysics and astronomy.
  • The Numerical Relativity and Analytical Relativity Collaboration – NRAR is collaboration about all numerical relativity and analytical relativity groups in the world to build a bank of binary black‐hole coalescences templates for detection and analysis of the Advanced LIGO project (2014).
  • The Einstein Toolkit Consortium (CIGR, XiRel) – The Einstein Toolkit Consortium (ET) – This is a consortium among several groups to develop and support open software for relativistic astrophysics to take advantage of emerging petascale computers and advanced cyber infrastructure. This consortium is funded by NSF PHY 0903973/0903782/0904015 (CIGR),  NSF PHY 0653303 (XiRel).
  • Petascale Resource Allocation (PRAC) – The CCRG numerical relativity group is collaborating with the Blue Waters Team  at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) through NSF PRAC award OCI-0832606 (in collaboration with OCI-0941653). Blue Waters is expected to be one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world when it comes online in 2011. It will have a peak performance of 10 petaflops (10 quadrillion calculations every second) and will achieve sustained performance of 1 petaflop running a range of science and engineering codes.
  • Collaborative Research: "Computing Supermassive Black Hole Mergers in Astrophysics" - Collaborative project among RIT and Johns Hopkins University funded by NSF CDI-Type II awards AST-1028087/1028111. [Internal Wiki]

Internal Collaborative Wikis:






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Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation, School of Mathematical Sciences,
Rochester Institute of Technology,
One Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, New York 14623, USA
Phone: (585) 475-7752
Fax: (585) 475-7340
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