Numerical relativity and compact binaries

Thomas W. Baumgarte, Stuart L. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Numerical relativity is the most promising tool for theoretically modeling the inspiral and coalescence of neutron star and black hole binaries, which, in turn, are among the most promising sources of gravitational radiation for future detection by gravitational wave observatories. In this article we review numerical relativity approaches to modeling compact binaries. Starting with a brief introduction to the 3 + 1 decomposition of Einstein's equations, we discuss important components of numerical relativity, including the initial data problem, reformulations of Einstein's equations, coordinate conditions, and strategies for locating and handling black holes on numerical grids. We focus on those approaches which currently seem most relevant for the compact binary problem. We then outline how these methods are used to model binary neutron stars and black holes, and review the current status of inspiral and coalescence simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-131
Number of pages91
JournalPhysics Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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