The goal of the current project is to boost the study of neutron stars (NSs) by exploiting the synergies between observations of continuous gravitational waves (GWs), electromagnetic (EM) waves and theoretical studies. Even fifty years after the discovery of pulsars, several aspects of NSs, including their composition and properties, are highly uncertain. The advent of multi-messenger astronomy is a game-changer also for this field. We aim at detecting the continuous GW signals emitted by quickly rotating NSs in our Galaxy and, possibly, stable or meta-stable remnants of supernova explosions and binary mergers. The use of deep-rooted data-analysis techniques, which are mainly based on pattern recognition, and will be optimized by implementing machine-learning algorithms, and by the exploitation of modern computing architectures, like GPU clusters and/or parallel computing on HPC (high performance computing), will allow us to improve the sensitivity to detect continuous GW signals in the data taken by the advanced LIGO-Virgo detectors. EM observations of NSs in the nascent field of fast optical photometry will strongly reduce the parameter space to be searched over through the detection of fast optical pulsars that cannot be seen at other wavelengths. The discovery of continuous GWs from a spinning NS will unveil its structure and properties, making it an unparalleled laboratory for testing models of fundamental physics and astrophysics in conditions that cannot be reproduced on Earth. Bayesian inference methods will be used both to estimate the NSs parameters, in case of a detection, and to accomplish source population studies as well as model predictions.
The project is very timely and will hugely contribute to boost the newly born GW astronomy by exploiting at the best data produced by current and future GW detectors, thanks to the well-established international expertise and leadership of the proponents in all of the fields related to the project.