High-precision QCD Meets High-performance Computing

Project: Research project

Project Details


Overview: The future of the high energy physics program will increasingly rely upon precision studies looking for deviations from the Standard Model (SM). Run I of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) triumphantly discovered the long-awaited Higgs boson, and there is great hope in the particle physics community that this new state will open a portal onto a new theory of Nature at the smallest scales. A precision study of Higgs boson properties is needed in order to test whether this belief is true. This e�ort will require increasingly intricate and precise calculations in order to determine whether Nature indeed obeys the predictions of the SM at the percent-level. High-precision simulation codes which implement next-to-next-to-leading order (NNLO) QCD corrections have become indispensable tools used to pursue this goal. They have led to an ever-increasing stream of results with a direct impact on the precision Higgs program, and on LHC phenomenology more generally. Such programs will become even more important as larger data sets further reduce the experimental errors and theoretical uncertainties begin to dominate.
The primary goal of this proposal is to produce new versions of NNLO simulation codes that can take full advantage of modern parallel computing systems. These platforms allow simulation times for complex processes to be drastically reduced, allowing quicker access to precision predictions. In some cases the resulting decreases in computing times bring previously intractable problems within reach. The interplay between the structure of QCD amplitudes and the available techniques for parallelization must be understood in order to produce these powerful tools for use in experimental studies. Two representative codes which utilize the sector-based subtraction approach to NNLO calculations, a method pioneered by the PI, will be restructured to utilize the MPI protocol for parallelization: FEWZ, a simulation tool to describe lepton-pair production at NNLO in hadronic collisions; HJET, an upcoming program which simulates Higgs production in association with a jet at NNLO. The resulting codes will be scalable to take advantage of the ever-increasing number of nodes available on new high-performance computing platforms.
Intellectual merit: The intellectual merit of this project is the development of powerful, e�cient QCD simulation codes that will enable the precision physics program of the LHC Run II program to be successfully performed. In addition to allowing otherwise computationally intractable phenomenology to be performed, through these codes we will also gain insight into how precision QCD programs can be successfully structured to run on computing clusters available to the high energy physics community.
Broader impacts: The broader impacts of this proposal include making these programs available to the experimental high energy physics community to enhance their ability to successfully perform their studies, thereby improving the software infrastructure for particle physics research. Furthermore, the graduate student working under the PI's supervision will be well-positioned for a future career at the cutting edge of scientific research and high-performance computing.
Effective start/end date8/1/157/31/19


  • National Science Foundation (PHY-1520916 002)


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