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Fermilab joins CERN openlab, works on ‘data reduction’ project with CMS experiment

Cern OpenLab News - Τετ, 22/11/2017 - 12:50
Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Fermilab, the USA’s premier particle physics and accelerator laboratory, has joined CERN openlab as a research member. Researchers from the laboratory will collaborate with members of the CMS experiment and the CERN IT Department on efforts to improve technologies related to ‘physics data reduction’. This work will take place within the framework of an existing CERN openlab project with Intel on ‘big-data analytics’.

‘Physics data reduction’ plays a vital role in ensuring researchers are able to gain valuable insights from the vast amounts of particle-collision data produced by high-energy physics experiments, such as the CMS experiment on CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The project’s goal is to develop a new system — using industry-standard big-data tools — for filtering many petabytes of heterogeneous collision data to create manageable, but rich, datasets of a few terabytes for analysis. Using current systems, this kind of targeted data reduction can often take weeks; but the aim of the project is to be able to achieve this in a matter of hours.

“Time is critical in analysing the ever-increasing volumes of LHC data,”says Oliver Gutsche, a Fermilab scientist working at the CMS experiment. “I am excited about the prospects CERN openlab brings to the table: systems that could enable us to perform analysis much faster and with much less effort and resources.” Gutsche and his colleagues will explore methods of ensuring efficient access to the data from the experiment. For this, they will investigate techniques based on Apache Spark, a popular open-source software platform for distributed processing of very large data sets on computer clusters built from commodity hardware. "The success of this project will have a large impact on the way analysis is conducted, allowing more optimised results to be produced in far less time,” says Matteo Cremonesi, a research associate at Fermilab. "I am really looking forward to using the new open-source tools; they will be a game changer for the overall scientific process in high-energy physics."

The team plans to first create a prototype of the system, capable of processing 1 PB of data with about 1000 computer cores. Based on current projections, this is about 1/20th of the scale of the final system that would be needed to handle the data produced when the High-Luminosity LHC comes online in 2026. Using this prototype, it should be possible to produce a benchmark (or ‘reference workload’) that can be used evaluate the optimum configuration of both hardware and software for the data-reduction system.

“This kind of work, investigating big-data analytics techniques is vital for high-energy physics — both in terms of physics data and data from industrial control systems on the LHC,” says Maria Girone, CERN openlab CTO. “However, these investigations also potentially have far-reaching impact for a range of other disciplines. For example, this CERN openlab project with Intel is also exploring the use of these kinds of analytics techniques for healthcare data.”

“Intel is proud of the work it has done in enabling the high-energy physics community to adopt the latest technologies for high-performance computing, data analytics, and machine learning — and reap the benefits. CERN openlab’s project on big-data analytics is one of the strategic endeavours to which Intel has been contributing,” says Stephan Gillich, Intel Deutschland’s director of technical computing for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. “The possibility of extending the CERN openlab collaboration to include Fermilab, one of the world’s leading research centres, is further proof of the scientific relevance and success of this private-public partnership.”

   

Superradiance of an ensemble of nuclei excited by a free electron laser

Nature Physics - Δευ, 20/11/2017 - 00:00

Superradiance of an ensemble of nuclei excited by a free electron laser

Superradiance of an ensemble of nuclei excited by a free electron laser, Published online: 20 November 2017; doi:10.1038/s41567-017-0001-z

Multiphoton superradiance is observed in a nuclear system excited by an X-ray free-electron laser. Tracking the system decay photon by photon shows strong enhancement of the first photon’s decay rate, in good agreement with Dicke’s formulation.

Topologically protected refraction of robust kink states in valley photonic crystals

Nature Physics - Δευ, 13/11/2017 - 00:00

Topologically protected refraction of robust kink states in valley photonic crystals

Topologically protected refraction of robust kink states in valley photonic crystals, Published online: 13 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4304

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A photonic crystal can realize an analogue of a valley Hall insulator, promising more flexibility than in condensed-matter systems to explore these exotic topological states.

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Intel teams up with CERN openlab on the Modern Code Developer Challenge

Cern OpenLab News - Παρ, 10/11/2017 - 17:43
Thursday, 16 November, 2017

CERN openlab and Intel are pleased to announce the winners of the Intel® Modern Code Developer Challenge! The announcement was made today at ‘SC17’, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis, in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Two winners were selected: Elena Orlova, for her work on improving particle collision simulation algorithms, and Konstantinos Kanellis, for his work on cloud-based biological simulations.

A challenge for CERN openlab summer students

CERN openlab is a unique public-private partnership between CERN and leading companies, helping accelerate development of the cutting-edge ICT solutions that make the laboratory’s ground-breaking physics research possible. Intel has been a partner in CERN openlab since 2001, when the collaboration was first established.

Each year, CERN openlab runs a highly competitive summer-student programme that sees 30-40 students from around the world come to CERN for nine weeks to do hands-on ICT projects involving the latest industry technologies.

This year, five students were selected to take part in the Intel® Modern Code Developer Challenge. This competition showcases the students’ blogs about their projects — all of which make use of Intel technologies or are connected to broader collaborative initiatives between Intel and CERN openlab. You can find additional information about these projects on a dedicated website that also features audio and video interviews

“We are thrilled to support these students through the Modern Code Developer Challenge,” says Michelle Chuaprasert, Director, Developer Relations Division at Intel. “Intel's partnership with CERN openlab is part of our continued commitment to education and building the next generation of scientific coders that are using high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, and Internet-of-things (IoT) technologies to have a positive impact on people’s lives across the world.”

 

Selecting a winner from five challenging projects

The competition featured students working on exciting challenges within both high-energy physics and other research domains.

At the start of the challenge, the plan was for a panel of judges to select just one of the five students as the winner and to invite said winner to present their work at the SC17 conference. However, owing to the high quality of the students’ work, the judges decided to select two winners, both of whom received full funding from Intel to travel to the USA and present their work.

 

Smash-simulation software

Elena Orlova, a third-year student in applied mathematics from the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia, was selected as one of the two winners. Her work focused on teaching algorithms to be faster at simulating particle-collision events.

 

Physicists widely use a software toolkit called GEANT4 to simulate what will happen when a particular kind of particle hits a particular kind of material in a particle detector. This toolkit is so popular that researchers use it in other fields to predict how particles will interact with other matter, such as in assessing radiation hazards in space, in commercial air travel, in medical imaging, and in optimizing scanning systems for cargo security.

An international team, led by researchers at CERN, is developing a new version of this simulation toolkit known as GeantV. This work is supported by a CERN openlab project with Intel on code modernization. GeantV will improve physics accuracy and boost performance on modern computing architectures.

The team behind GeantV is implementing a deep learning tool intended to make simulations faster. Orlova worked to write a flexible mini-application to help train the deep neural network on distributed computing systems.

“I’m really glad to have had this opportunity to work on a breakthrough project like this with such cool people,” says Orlova. “I’ve improved my skills, gained lots of new experience, and have explored new places and foods. I hope my work will be useful for further research.”

 

Cells in the cloud

 

Konstantinos Kanellis, a final-year undergraduate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Thessaly, Greece, is the other Modern Code Developer Challenge winner due to his work related to BioDynaMo. BioDynaMo is one of CERN openlab’s knowledge-sharing projects (another part of CERN openlab’s collaboration with Intel on code modernization). The project’s goal is to develop methods for ensuring that scientific software makes full use of the computing potential offered by today’s cutting-edge hardware technologies. This joint effort by CERNNewcastle UniversityInnopolis University, and Kazan Federal University is to design and build a scalable and flexible platform for rapid simulation of biological tissue development.

 

The project focuses initially on the area of brain tissue simulation, drawing inspiration from existing, but low-performance, software frameworks. By using the code to simulate development of both normal and diseased brains, neuroscientists hope to learn more about the causes of — and identify potential treatments for — disorders such as epilepsy and schizophrenia.

Late 2015 and early 2016 saw algorithms already written in Java code ported to C++. Once porting was completed, work began to optimise the code for modern computer processors and co-processors. However, to address ambitious research questions, more computational power was needed. Future work will attempt to adapt the code for high-performance computing resources over the cloud.

Kanellis’s work focused on adding network support for the single-node simulator and prototyping the computation management across many nodes. “Being a summer student at CERN was a rich and fulfilling experience. It was exciting to work on an interesting and ambitious project like BioDynaMo,” says Kanellis. “I feel honoured to have been chosen as a winner, and that I've managed to deliver something meaningful that can make an impact in the future.”

 

ICT stars of the future

Alberto Di Meglio, head of CERN openlab, will present more details about these projects, as well as details about the entire competition, in a talk at SC17. The other three projects featured in the challenge focused on using machine learning techniques to better identify the particles produced by collision events, integrating IoT devices into the control systems for the LHC, and helping computers get better at recognising objects in satellite maps created by UNITAR, a UN agency hosted at CERN.

 “Training the next generation of developers — the people who can produce the scientific code that makes world-leading research possible — is of paramount importance across all scientific fields,” says Meglio. “We’re pleased to partner with Intel on this important cause.”

 

For more information, please visit the Intel® Modern Code Developer Challenge website. Also, if you’re a student and are interested in joining next year’s CERN openlab Summer Student Programme, please visit the dedicated page on our website (applications will open in December).

 

CERN openlab Internet of Things Workshop

Cern OpenLab News - Δευ, 06/11/2017 - 15:14
Monday, 6 November, 2017

CERN openlab is holding a workshop on the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) on Tuesday 7 November.

Speakers from academia and industry will present the current state of key technologies used to build ‘smart’ environments, such as smart buildings, campuses, and even cities. Technologies related to smart mobility will also be discussed, as well as how these technologies are likely to impact on our daily lives.

Speakers from CERN will present opportunities for how the Organization could potentially make use of IoT technologies, and will describe several ongoing prototype projects.

Follow the event live via webcast here: https://webcast.web.cern.ch/event/i669690. The full timetable for the day is available here: https://indico.cern.ch/event/669690/timetable/#20171107.

How drops start sliding over solid surfaces

Nature Physics - Δευ, 06/11/2017 - 00:00

How drops start sliding over solid surfaces

How drops start sliding over solid surfaces, Published online: 06 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4305

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A liquid droplet is shown to slide across a solid surface subject to friction forces analogous with those between two solids. The phenomenon is generic, and closes a gap in our understanding of liquid–solid friction.

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Phase ordering of charge density waves traced by ultrafast low-energy electron diffraction

Nature Physics - Δευ, 06/11/2017 - 00:00

Phase ordering of charge density waves traced by ultrafast low-energy electron diffraction

Phase ordering of charge density waves traced by ultrafast low-energy electron diffraction, Published online: 06 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4309

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A tracing of the phase-ordering kinetics of a charge density wave system demonstrates the potential of ultrafast low-energy electron diffraction for studying phase transitions and ordering phenomena at surfaces and in low-dimensional systems.

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Unconventional mass enhancement around the Dirac nodal loop in ZrSiS

Nature Physics - Δευ, 06/11/2017 - 00:00

Unconventional mass enhancement around the Dirac nodal loop in ZrSiS

Unconventional mass enhancement around the Dirac nodal loop in ZrSiS, Published online: 06 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4306

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A significant enhancement in the effective mass of Dirac-like quasiparticles residing near a nodal loop in the electronic band structure provides evidence for strong correlation effects in a topological semimetal.

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Soft matter: Sticky fingers

Nature Physics - Πέμ, 02/11/2017 - 00:00

Soft matter: Sticky fingers

Soft matter: Sticky fingers, Published online: 02 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4313

Many-body localization: Going long

Nature Physics - Πέμ, 02/11/2017 - 00:00

Many-body localization: Going long

Many-body localization: Going long, Published online: 02 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4317

Ripples in spacetime

Nature Physics - Πέμ, 02/11/2017 - 00:00

Ripples in spacetime

Ripples in spacetime, Published online: 02 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4321

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The 2017 Nobel prize in Physics has been awarded to Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”.

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Quantum anomalous hall effect: Honeycomb recipe

Nature Physics - Πέμ, 02/11/2017 - 00:00

Quantum anomalous hall effect: Honeycomb recipe

Quantum anomalous hall effect: Honeycomb recipe, Published online: 02 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4319

Celebrate the scientific hierarchy

Nature Physics - Πέμ, 02/11/2017 - 00:00

Celebrate the scientific hierarchy

Celebrate the scientific hierarchy, Published online: 02 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4300

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The validity of our scientific descriptions of reality does not hinge on their emergence from a more fundamental theory.

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When lost in a multiverse

Nature Physics - Πέμ, 02/11/2017 - 00:00

When lost in a multiverse

When lost in a multiverse, Published online: 02 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4310

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Wonder material graphene makes metrology practical and relaxed, says Andre Geim.

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Gas detection: Sensor extraordinaire

Nature Physics - Πέμ, 02/11/2017 - 00:00

Gas detection: Sensor extraordinaire

Gas detection: Sensor extraordinaire, Published online: 02 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4316

Biomechanics: Split sites

Nature Physics - Πέμ, 02/11/2017 - 00:00

Biomechanics: Split sites

Biomechanics: Split sites, Published online: 02 November 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4320

CERN alumna turned deep-sea explorer

Cern OpenLab News - Δευ, 30/10/2017 - 15:08
Thursday, 26 October, 2017

This article is republished from Symmetry magazine.
 

Each summer, the international research laboratory CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider, welcomes dozens of students to work alongside seasoned scientists on cutting-edge particle physics research. Many of these students will pursue physics research in graduate school, but some find themselves applying the lessons they learned at CERN to new domains. 

In 2011, MIT undergraduate Grace Young was one of these CERN summer students. 

Like many young adults, Young didn’t know what career path she wanted to pursue. “I tried all the majors,” Young says. “Physics, engineering, architecture, math, computer science. Separately, I always loved both the ocean and building things; it wasn’t until I learned about ocean engineering that I knew I had found my calling.”

Today, Young is completing her PhD in ocean engineering at the University of Oxford and is chief scientist for the deep-sea submarine Pisces VI. She develops technology for ocean research and in 2014 lived underwater for 15 days. During a recent visit to CERN, Young spoke with Symmetry writer Sarah Charley about the journey that led her from fundamental physics back to her first love, the ocean.

 

As a junior in high school you competed in Intel’s International Science Fair and won a trip to CERN. What was your project?
A classmate and I worked in a quantum physics lab at University of Maryland. We designed and built several devices, called particle traps, that had potential applications for quantum computing. We soldered wires onto the mirror inside a flashlight to create a bowl-shaped electric field and then applied alternating current to repeatedly flip the field, which made tiny charged particles hover in mid-air. 

We were really jumping into the deep end on quantum physics; it was kind of amazing that it worked! Winning a trip to CERN was a dream come true. It was a transformative experience that had a huge impact on my career path.

You then came back to CERN as a freshman at MIT. What is it about CERN and particle physics that made you want to return?
My peek inside CERN the previous year sparked an interest that drove me to apply for the CERN openlab internship [a technology development collaboration between CERN scientists and members of companies or research institutes]. 

Although I learned a lot from my assignment, my interest and affinity for CERN derives from the community of researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplines from all over the world. It was CERN's high-powered global community of scientists congregated in one beautiful place to solve big problems that was a magnet for me.

You say you’ve always loved the ocean. What is it about the ocean that inspires you?
’ve loved being by the water since I was born. I find it very humbling, standing on the shore and having the waves breaking at my feet. 

This huge body of water differentiates our planet from other rocks in space, yet so little is known about it. The more time I spent on or in the water, either sailing or diving, the more I began taking a deeper interest in marine life and the essential role the ocean plays in sustaining life as we know it on Earth.

What does an ocean engineer actually do?
One big reason that we’ve only explored 5 percent of the ocean is because the deep sea is so forbidding for humans. We simply don't have the biology to see or communicate underwater, much less exist for more than a few minutes just below surface.

But all this is changing with better underwater imaging, sensors and robotic technologies. As an ocean engineer, I design and build things such as robotic submersibles, which can monitor the health of fisheries in marine sanctuaries, track endangered species and create 3-D maps of underwater ice shelves. These tools, combined with data collected during field research, enable me and my colleagues to explore the ocean and monitor the human impact on its fragile ecosystems.

I also design new eco-seawalls and artificial coral reefs to protect coastlines from rising sea levels and storm surges while reviving essential marine ecosystems.

What questions are you hoping to answer during your career as an ocean engineer and researcher?
How does the ocean support so much biodiversity? More than 70 percent of our planet is covered by water, producing more than half the oxygen we breathe, storing more carbon dioxide than all terrestrial plant life and feeding billions of humans. And yet 95 percent of our ocean remains unexplored and essentially unknown. 

The problem we are facing today is that we are destroying so many of the ocean’s ecosystems before we even know they exist. We can learn a lot about how to stay alive and thrive by studying the oceanic habitats, leading to unforeseeable discoveries and scientific advancements.

What are some of your big goals with this work?
We face big existential ocean-related problems, and I'd like to help develop solutions for them. Overfishing, acidification, pollution and warming temperatures are destroying the ocean’s ecosystems and affecting humans by diminishing a vital food supply, shifting weather patterns and accelerating sea-level rise. Quite simply, if we don't know or understand the problems, we can't fix them.

Have you found any unexpected overlaps between the research at CERN and the research on a submarine?
Vision isn’t a good way to see the underwater world. The ocean is pitch black in most of its volume, and the creatures don’t rely on vision. They feel currents with their skin, use sound and can read the chemicals in the water to smell food. It would make sense for humans to use sensors that do that same thing. 

Physicists faced this same challenge and found other ways to characterize subatomic particles and the celestial bodies without relying on vision. Ocean sciences are moving in this same direction.

What do you think ocean researchers and particle physicists can learn from each other?
I think we already know it: That is, we can only solve big problems by working together. I'm convinced that only by working together across disciplines, ethnicities and nationalities can we survive as a species. 

Of course, the physical sciences are integral to everything related to ocean engineering, but it's really CERN's problem-solving methodology that's most inspiring and applicable. CERN was created to solve big problems by combining the best of human learning irrespective of nationality, ethnicity or discipline. Our Pisces VI deep sea submarine team is multidisciplinary, multinational and—just like CERN—it's focused on exploring the unknown that's essential to life as we know it.

 

 

Read the article on symmetrymagazine.org:

Quantum imaging with incoherently scattered light from a free-electron laser

Nature Physics - Δευ, 30/10/2017 - 00:00

Quantum imaging with incoherently scattered light from a free-electron laser

Nature Physics, Published online: 30 October 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4301

The intensity correlations in incoherently scattered X-rays from a free-electron laser can be exploited to image 2D objects with a resolution close to or below the diffraction limit.

Anomalous dispersion of microcavity trion-polaritons

Nature Physics - Δευ, 30/10/2017 - 00:00

Anomalous dispersion of microcavity trion-polaritons

Nature Physics, Published online: 30 October 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4303

A study of the strong coupling of different exciton species in two-dimensional molybdenum diselenide in a cavity uncovers the rich many-body physics and may lead to new devices.

The physics of quantum materials

Nature Physics - Δευ, 30/10/2017 - 00:00

The physics of quantum materials

Nature Physics, Published online: 30 October 2017; doi:10.1038/nphys4302

This Review surveys the electronic properties of quantum materials through the prism of the electron wavefunction, and examines how its entanglement and topology give rise to a rich variety of quantum states and phases.

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