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Jim Isenberg : Construcing solutions of the Einstein constraint equations

The first step in finding a spacetime solution to the Einstein gravitational field equations via the inital value formulation is to construct initial data which satisfy the Einstein constraint equations. There are three ways of carrying out this construction which have been found to be useful: the conformal and conformal thin sandwich methods, the gluing techniques, and the quasi-spherical approaches. We describe each of these, we discuss their advantages and disadvantages, we outline some of their recent successful applications, and we present some of the outstanding questions remaining to be solved from each of these perspectives.

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