Higgs boson machine-learning challenge

May 20, 2014 by Cian O'luanaigh

Last week, CERN was among several organizations to announce the Higgs boson machine-learning challengeExternal Links icon – your chance to develop machine-learning techniques to improve analysis of Higgs data.

The discovery of the Higgs boson was confirmed by the CMS and ATLAS experiments on 4 July 2012. The following year saw a number of prestigious awards for the discovery, including a Nobel prize for Peter Higgs and François Englert. But for physicists, the discovery of a new particle is just the beginning of a long and difficult quest to meticulously measure its characteristics and determine if it fits their model of matter.

A key property of any particle is how often it decays into other particles. The ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN searches for new particles and processes using head-on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy. The ATLAS experiment has recently observed a signal of the Higgs boson decaying into two tau particles, but this decay is a small signal buried in background noise.

The goal of the Higgs boson challenge is to explore the potential of advanced machine-learning methods to improve the analysis of data produced by the experiment. Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence in which computers are trained to recognize patterns in data. The machines learn to recognize elements of data sets and can then apply this to new, unseen data. For the challenge, no knowledge of particle physics is required. Using simulated data with features characterizing events detected by ATLAS, your task is to classify events into "tau tau decay of a Higgs boson" versus "background."

The top three scores on the leaderboard when the contest ends in September will receive cash prizes. The winning method may eventually be applied to real data and the winners may be invited to CERN to discuss their results with high-energy physicists.

Interested in machine learning? Now is your chance to teach the machines and improve humankind's understanding of the universe.

Explore further: A bound on the natural width of the Higgs boson

More information: www.kaggle.com/c/higgs-boson/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ATLAS sees Higgs boson decay to fermions

Nov 28, 2013

The ATLAS experiment at CERN has released preliminary results that show evidence that the Higgs boson decays to two tau particles. Taus belong to a group of subatomic particles called the fermions, which ...

The Higgs boson: One year on

Jul 05, 2013

A year ago today, physicists from the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN proudly announced the discovery of a new boson looking very much like the Higgs boson.

'God Particle' Nobel ticks boson box for CERN

Oct 08, 2013

The reflected glory of a Nobel prize for the minds behind the "God particle" sent champagne corks popping at Europe's top physics lab CERN Tuesday, vindicating its landmark discovery a year ago.

Recommended for you

New insights found in black hole collisions

13 hours ago

New research provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe—the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole.

X-rays probe LHC for cause of short circuit

13 hours ago

The LHC has now transitioned from powering tests to the machine checkout phase. This phase involves the full-scale tests of all systems in preparation for beam. Early last Saturday morning, during the ramp-down, ...

Swimming algae offer insights into living fluid dynamics

16 hours ago

None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn't know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn't prevent fluid buildup. But we know very little about the dynamics of so-called "living fluids," those ...

Fluctuation X-ray scattering

Mar 26, 2015

In biology, materials science and the energy sciences, structural information provides important insights into the understanding of matter. The link between a structure and its properties can suggest new ...

Hydrodynamics approaches to granular matter

Mar 26, 2015

Sand, rocks, grains, salt or sugar are what physicists call granular media. A better understanding of granular media is important - particularly when mixed with water and air, as it forms the foundations of houses and off-shore ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

AmritSorli
1 / 5 (2) May 21, 2014
Higgs boson and Higgs field have some serious epistemological problems to be resolved
http://article.sc...3.11.pdf
EyeNStein
1 / 5 (1) May 21, 2014
Watson: "What is-'Higgs Boson'"
George_Rajna
Jun 22, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.