Compact Binaries in the Era of Gravitational Wave Astronomy

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With two confident binary black hole mergers already detected in their first observing run, the advanced LIGO detectors are expected to detect hundreds more in coming years.  We are poised to learn more about compact binary (e.g., BNS, NSBH, BBH) formation than ever before, but doing so will demand both detailed characterization of individual events, and inference of the properties of the underlying population as a whole.  I will present the methods behind the detection and characterization of LIGO's binary black hole mergers, what they have taught us about compact binaries thus far, and what they will potentially teach us about compact binary formation in the future.