LIGO Document G1001168-v5
- Numerous searches for gravitational waves have been performed in recent years, covering multiple data epochs from several gravitational wave detectors. Each search may estimate detection significance and astrophysical rates in different ways, but the estimate should take into account both the background and the intrinsic search sensitivity. These measurements determine the significance of the observation and shape the upper limit on source event rates. If searches target the same source, it is important to be able to compare and combine the results of the various searches. Therefore, we propose a statistic which combines any number of searches into a single measurement by taking into account both the sensitive volume of a search and the background event rate into a "false alarm rate density". This method allows the comparison of a putative gravitational wave candidate in the context of a combined search over different epochs of data with possibly very different characteristics. We present an example of this technique using the results from simulated gravitational-wave detector networks.
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