The Mock LISA Data Challenges (MLDCs) are a program to demonstrate LISA data-analysis capabilities and to encourage their development. Each round of challenges consists of one or more datasets containing simulated instrument noise and gravitational waves from sources of undisclosed parameters. Participants analyze the datasets and report best-fit solutions for the source parameters. Almost four years after the program began, we are proud to announce the release of the fourth challenge, MLDC 4. To obtain the datasets, go to http://astrogravs.nasa.gov/docs/mldc and follow the “Round 4” link. The authoritative description of MLDC 4 will appear in the Amaldi-8 proceedings; in the meantime please refer to http://lisatools.googlecode.com/svn/Docs/2009-amaldi-challenge3/mldc3proceedings.pdf .
Challenge content — While the third round of the MLDCs was focused on increasing the complexity and variety of GW sources, we are devoting the next iteration to the global-fit problem of detecting and analyzing sources of different types superposed in the LISA data. Thus, MDLC 4 consists of a single, “whole enchilada” challenge that includes all the sources of MLDCs 3.1-3.5 in the same dataset, albeit with larger source numbers (for EMRIs and cosmic-string bursts) and parameter ranges (for MBH binaries and EMRIs). You can find a graphic representation of a typical dataset at http://www.tapir.caltech.edu/dokuwiki/_media/listwg1b:mldc4.pdf ;
this particular realization includes 60+ million chirping Galactic binaries, 4 MBH binaries, 9 EMRIs, 15 cosmic-string bursts, an isotropic stochastic background, and of course instrument noise (the graphic reflects a previous test run that is not available for download).
Participating — The deadline for Round 4 entries will be December 3, 2010, at midnight, U.S. Pacific time, with preliminary results to be presented at the 15th GWDAW meeting. (However: the GWDAW-15 date and place will be decided in Jan 2010; if GWDAW-15 is in early December 2010, we will bring forward the MLDC 4 deadline accordingly to have enough time to evaluate entries.) The global-fit character of this challenge encourages collaborative endeavors between group that have developed searches for different sources. We invite you to use the firstname.lastname@example.org list as a forum to set up such collaborations (subscribe at http://www.gravity.psu.edu/mailman/listinfo/lisatools-challenge); please let us know how we may help you on this.
More information — To obtain more details and to participate in the MLDCs, see the official MLDC website, http://astrogravs.nasa.gov/docs/mldc , the Task Force wiki, http://www.tapir.caltech.edu/listwg1b/ , and the lisatools software repository, http://lisatools.googlecode.com .
the MLDC task force