Rapid model comparison of equations of state from gravitational wave observation of binary neutron star coalescences

Shaon Ghosh, Xiaoshu Liu, Jolien Creighton, Ignacio Magaña Hernandez, Wolfgang Kastaun, Geraint Pratten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The discovery of the coalescence of binary neutron star GW170817 was a watershed moment in the field of gravitational wave astronomy. Among the rich variety of information that we were able to uncover from this discovery was the first non-electromagnetic measurement of the neutron star radius, and the cold nuclear equation of state. It also led to a large equation of state model selection study from gravitational-wave data. In those studies Bayesian nested sampling runs were conducted for each candidate equation of state model to compute their evidence in the gravitational-wave data. Such studies, though invaluable, are computationally expensive and require repeated, redundant, computation for any new models. We present a novel technique to conduct model selection of equation of state in an extremely rapid fashion ( minutes) on any arbitrary model. We test this technique against the results of a nested-sampling model selection technique published earlier by the LIGO/Virgo collaboration, and show that the results are in good agreement with a median fractional error in Bayes factor of about 10%, where we assume that the true Bayes factor is calculated in the aforementioned nested sampling runs. We found that the highest fractional error occurs for equation of state models that have very little support in the posterior distribution, thus resulting in large statistical uncertainty. We then used this method to combine multiple binary neutron star mergers to compute a joint-Bayes factor between equation of state models. This is achieved by stacking the evidence of the individual events and computing the Bayes factor from these stacked evidences for each pairs of equation of state.

Original languageEnglish
Article number083003
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2021


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