Particle Theory at the Higgs Centre

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Physics and Astronomy


There are two types of fundamental forces in Nature: those responsible for particle
interactions at subatomic scales and those responsible for the large scale structure of
the universe. The former is described by Quantum Field Theories (QFT) such as the
Standard Model(SM). Currently, our understanding of Nature at the most fundamental
level is at the crossroads. Last year, the LHC at CERN collided protons at higher energies
than ever before, and observed sufficient collisions to find a significant excess at 125 GeV,
consistent with the Higgs boson of the SM. Over the coming years it should become
clear whether this is indeed a SM Higgs, responsible for generating masses for vector
bosons, leptons and quarks, or whether it is something different. It should also become
clearer whether there is more physics at the TeV scale, or whether this is it. In either event,
it is clear that this will be a transformative period in fundamental physics, making the next
few years the most exciting time for a generation or more.

Our programme of research at the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics in Edinburgh is
designed to be at the forefront of these new discoveries: indeed Peter Higgs himself is
Emeritus Professor here. Specifically, we provide theoretical calculations, using pen
and paper, and the most powerful supercomputers, of both the huge number of
background processes to be seen at LHC due to known physics, and the tiny signals
expected in various models of new physics, in order to discriminate between signal and
background, and thus maximise the discovery potential of the LHC.

In parallel, we will attempt to understand the more complete picture of all the forces of
Nature that may begin to emerge. The fundamental force responsible for large scale structure
is described Einstein's General Theory of Relativity (GR). During the last three decades,
string theory has emerged as a conceptually rich theoretical framework reconciling both
GR and QFT. The low-energy limit of String Theory is supergravity (SUGRA), a nontrivial
extension of GR in which the universe is described by a spacetime with additional
geometric data. Members of the group have pioneered approaches to deriving observable
cosmological consequences of String Theory, to studying how the geometrical notions on
which GR is predicated change at very small ("stringy") distance scales,
and the systematic classification of SUGRA backgrounds. The group is also engaged in
using these theories to improve calculations in existing field theories.

In summary, our research will impinge on both theoretical and computational aspects
relevant to probing the phenomenology of incoming LHC data, and will also encompass
a wide range of topics in QFT and gravitational aspects of String Theory, impinging on
cosmology, particle physics and on the very nature of String Theory itself.

Planned Impact

The Higgs Centre is involved in outreach activities such as talks at secondary schools
and University Open Day events and for organizations such as the IOP. These activities
will continue with plans for increase through greater personal initiative by Institute
members as well as through cooperation with organizations including the University
and Particle Physics 4 Scottish Schools. Institute members also have had interaction
with the popular science press through offering expertise opinions for articles, having
our own work covered, and being involved in press releases by the University, STFC
and IBM.

The Centre is also involved in various engagement activities through its affiliation with the
Maxwell Institute, whose vision is to maintain a strong connectivity to the world outside
theoretical science. To deliver this vision, the Maxwell Institute aims to enhance the breadth
of theoretical research addressed at the two universities, to expand its impact on a range of
applications to other academic areas, and to increase the reach and impact of our research
by promoting collaborations with other academic disciplines, industry and commerce, and the
engagement of the public.

We have a unique task of developing and supporting public interest in the
work of our retired Professor Emeritus Peter Higgs. We receive information almost
on a daily basis of press coverage of him or the Higgs boson by media organizations
all over the world. We also host media and television organizations who interview
Peter Higgs. This activity was particularly intense in July 2012, with a press conference
announcing the new Higgs Centre timed with the Higgs discovery. We will continue this
support activity, which will be most essential in the coming years, with anticipation of a
Nobel prize this October.

We have impacted the high performance computing industry and consequently all of
scientific computing in a quite unique way. We have jointly designed the memory
prefetch engine for the next generation BlueGene/Q supercomputer chip with IBM
Research under a formal Collaboration Agreement. This design was the fastest
computer in the world (top500) in June 2012, and a paper coauthored by Edinburgh
and IBM won the 2012 Gauss Award at the international supercomputing conference.
The design is now IBM's premier HPC product and the basis for many large installations
serving academia and industry around the world. This includes the STFC Hartree
facility, which is boosting advanced manufacturing in the UK.


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Abreu S (2014) From multiple unitarity cuts to the coproduct of Feynman integrals in Journal of High Energy Physics

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Aminov G (2015) Seiberg-Witten curves and double-elliptic integrable systems in Journal of High Energy Physics

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Andersen J (2016) Z/?* plus multiple hard jets in high energy collisions in Journal of High Energy Physics

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Andersen J (2018) Higgs-boson plus dijets: higher-order matching for high-energy predictions in Journal of High Energy Physics

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Andersen J (2019) Finite quark-mass effects in Higgs boson production with dijets at large energies in Journal of High Energy Physics

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Andersen J (2019) HEJ 2: High energy resummation for hadron colliders in Computer Physics Communications

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Andrzejewski T (2018) Kinematical lie algebras in 2 + 1 dimensions in Journal of Mathematical Physics

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Aoki S (2017) Review of lattice results concerning low-energy particle physics: Flavour Lattice Averaging Group (FLAG). in The European physical journal. C, Particles and fields

Description Lots of interesting particle physics
Exploitation Route Lots of ways
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education

Description Panel discussion on machine learning and future HPC Intel HPC developer conference. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited as panel expert on future of HPC and machine learning by Intel at their annual HPC developer conference attended widely by Industry and research lab sector. Note, Boyle second from left in photograph on the Intel web page linked below.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description Talk on MPI optimisation on Intel stand at Supercomputing 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Decision influence: I Influenced Intel to modify, update and release optimisations to their MPI library for the Intel Omnipath interconnect. Coauthored a paper on this topic.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
Description Talks presented on this activity at Intel Xeon Phi User Group conferences. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presented work in several Intel Xeon Phi User Group meetings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017