Sensitive gravitational wave (GW) detectors such as that of Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) realize the direct observation of GW signals that confirm Einstein's general theory of relativity. However, it remains challenges to quickly detect faint GW signals from a large number of time series with background noise under unknown probability distributions. Traditional methods such as matched-filtering in general assume Additive White Gaussian Noise (AWGN) and are far from being real-time due to its high computational complexity. To avoid these weaknesses, one-dimensional (1D) Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are introduced to achieve fast online detection in milliseconds but do not have enough consideration on the trade-off between the frequency and time features, which will be revisited in this paper through data pre-processing and subsequent two-dimensional (2D) CNNs during offline training to improve the online detection sensitivity. In this work, the input data is pre-processed to form a 2D spectrum by Short-time Fourier transform (STFT), where frequency features are extracted without learning. Then, carrying out two 1D convolutions across time and frequency axes respectively, and concatenating the time-amplitude and frequency-amplitude feature maps with equal proportion subsequently, the frequency and time features are treated equally as the input of our following two-dimensional CNNs. The simulation of our above ideas works on a generated data set with uniformly varying SNR (2–17), which combines the GW signal generated by PYCBC and the background noise sampled directly from LIGO. Satisfying the real-time online detection requirement without noise distribution assumption, the experiments of this paper demonstrate better performance on average compared to that of 1D CNNs, especially in the cases of lower SNR (4–9).

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