Automatic calculation of particle interaction or decay

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The automatic calculation of particle interaction or decay is part of the computational particle physics branch. It refers to computing tools that help calculating the complex particle interactions as studied in high-energy physics, astroparticle physics and cosmology. The goal of the automation is to handle the full sequence of calculations in an automatic (programmed) way: from the Lagrangian expression describing the physics model up to the cross-sections values and to the event generator software.


Particle accelerator or colliders produce collisions (interactions) of particle (like the electron or the proton). The colliding particles form the Initial State. In the collision, particles can be annihilated or/and exchanged producing possibly different sets of particles, the Final States. The Initial and Final States of the interaction relate through the so-called scattering matrix (S-matrix).

For example at LEP,

, or

are processes where the initial state is an electron and a positron colliding to produce an electron and a positron or two muons of opposite charge: the final states. In these simple cases, no automatic packages are needed and cross-section analytical expression can be easily derived at least for the lowest approximation: the Born approximation also called the leading order or the tree level (as Feynman diagrams have only trunk and branches, no loops).

But particle physics is now requiring much more complex calculations like at LHC where are protons and is the number of jets of particles initiated by proton constituents (quarks and gluons). The number of subprocesses describing a given process is so large that automatic tools have been developed to mitigate the burden of hand calculations.

Interactions at higher energies open a large spectrum of possible final states and consequently increase the number of processes to compute.

High precision experiments impose the calculation of higher order calculation, namely the inclusion of subprocesses where more than one virtual particle can be created and annihilated during the interaction lapse creating so-called loops which induce much more involved calculations.

Finally new theoretical models like the supersymmetry model (MSSM in its minimal version) predict a flurry of new processes.

The automatic packages, once seen as mere teaching support, have become, this last 10 years an essential component of the data simulation and analysis suite for all experiments. They help constructing event generators and are sometimes viewed as generators of event generators or Meta-generators.

A particle physics model is essentially described by its Lagrangian. To simulate the production of events through event generators, 3 steps have to be taken. The Automatic Calculation project is to create the tools to make those steps as automatic (or programmed) as possible:

I Feynman rules, coupling and mass generation

  • LanHEP is an example of Feynman rules generation.
  • Some model needs an additional step to compute, based on some parameters, the mass and coupling of new predicted particles.

II Matrix element code generation: Various methods are used to automatically produce the matrix element expression in a computer language (Fortran, C/C++). They use values (i.e. for the masses) or expressions (i.e. for the couplings) produced by step I or model specific libraries constructed by hands (usually heavily relying on Computer algebra languages). When this expression is integrated (usually numerically) over the internal degrees of freedom it will provide the total and differential cross-sections for a given set of initial parameters like the initial state particle energies and polarization.

III Event generator code generation: This code must them be interfaced to other packages to fully provide the actual final state. The various effects or phenomenon that need to be implemeted are:

The interplay or matching of the precise matrix element calculation and the approximations resulting from the simulation of the parton shower gives rise to further complications, either within a given level of precision like at leading order (LO) for the production of n jets or between two levels of precision when tempting to connect matrix element computed at next-to-leading (NLO) (1-loop) or next-to-next-leading order (NNLO) (2-loops) with LO partons shower package.

Several methods have been developed for this matching:

But the only correct way is to match packages at the same level theoretical accuracy like the NLO matrix element calculation with NLO parton shower packages. This is currently in development.


The idea of automation of the calculations in high-energy physics is not new. It dates back to the 1960s when packages such as SCHOONSCHIP and then REDUCE had been developed.

These are symbolic manipulation codes that automatize the algebraic parts of a matrix element evaluation, like traces on Dirac matrices and contraction of Lorentz indices. Such codes have evolved quite a lot with applications not only optimized for high-energy physics like FORM but also more general purpose programs like Mathematica and Maple.

Generation of QED Feynman graphs at any order in the coupling constant was automatized in the late 70's[15]. One of the first major application of these early developments in this field was the calculation of the anomalous magnetic moments of the electron and the muon[16]. The first automatic system incorporating all the steps for the calculation of a cross section, from Feynman graph generation, amplitude generation through a REDUCE source code that produces a FORTRAN code, phase space integration and event generation with BASES/SPRING[17] is GRAND[18]. It was limited to tree-level processes in QED. In the early nineties, a few groups started to develop packages aiming at the automation in the SM[19].[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Matrix element calculation methods[edit]

Helicity amplitude[edit]

Feynman amplitudes are written in terms of spinor products of wave functions for massless fermions, and then evaluated numerically before the amplitudes are squared. Taking into account fermion masses implies that Feynman amplitudes are decomposed into vertex amplitudes by splitting the internal lines into wave function of fermions and polarization vectors of gauge bosons.

All helicity configuration can be computed independently.

Helicity amplitude squared[edit]

The method is similar to the previous one, but the numerical calculation is performed after squaring the Feynman Amplitude. The final expression is shorter and therefore faster to compute, but independent helicity information are not anymore available.

Dyson-Schwinger recursive equations[edit]

The scattering amplitude is evaluated recursively through a set of Dyson-Schwinger equations. The computational cost of this algorithm grows asymptotically as 3n, where n is the number of particles involved in the process, compared to n! in the traditional Feynman graphs approach. Unitary gauge is used and mass effects are available as well. Additionally, the color and helicity structures are appropriately transformed so the usual summation is replaced by the Monte Carlo techniques.[11]

Higher order calculations[edit]


Additional package for Event generation[edit]

The integration of the "matrix element" over the multidimensional internal parameters phase space provides the total and differential cross-sections. Each point of this phase space is associated to an event probability. This is used to randomly generate events closely mimicking experimental data. This is called event generation, the first step in the complete chain of event simulation. The initial and final state particles can be elementary particles like electrons, muons, or photons but also partons (protons and neutrons).

More effects must then be implemented to reproduce real life events as those detected at the colliders.

The initial electron or positron may undergo radiation before they actually interact: initial state radiation and beamstrahlung.

The bare partons that do not exist in nature (they are confined inside the hadrons) must be so to say dressed so that they form the known hadrons or mesons. They are made in two steps: parton shower and hadronization.

When the initial state particles are protons at high energy, it is only their constituents which interact. Therefore the specific parton that will experience the "hard interaction" has to be selected. Structure functions must therefore be implemented. The other parton may interact "softly", and must be also be simulated as they contribute to the complexity of the event: the underlying event.

Initial state radiation and beamstrahlung[edit]

Parton shower and Hadronization[edit]

At leading Order (LO)[edit]

At Next-to-Leading order (NLO)[edit]

Structure and Fragmentation Functions[edit]

The fragmentation function (F.F.) is a probability distribution function. It is used to find the density function of fragmented mesons in hadron -hadron collision.

The structure function, like the fragmentation function, is also a probability density function. It is analogous to the structure factor in solid-state physics.

Underlying event[edit]

Model specific packages[edit]


Automatic software pakcages can be useful in exploring a number of Beyond the Standard Model (BSM) theories, such as the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model (MSSM), to predict and understand possible particle interactions in future physics experiments.

Related computational issues[edit]

Multi-dimensional integrators[edit]

Ultra-High Precision Numerical computation[edit]

Existing Packages[edit]

Feynman rules generators[edit]

Tree Level Packages[edit]

Name Model Max FS Tested FS Short description Publication Method Output Status
MadGraph5 Any Model 1/2->n 2->8 complete, massive, helicity, color, decay chain what is MG5 HA (automatic generation) Output PD
Grace SM/MSSM 2->n 2->6 complete,massive,helicity,color Manual v2.0 HA Output PD
CompHEP Model Max FS Tested FS Short description Publication method Output Status
CalcHEP Model Max FS Tested FS Short description Publication Method Output Status
Sherpa SM/MSSM 2->n 2->8 massive publication[permanent dead link] HA/DS Output PD
GenEva Model Max FS Tested FS Short description Publication Method Output Status
HELAC Model Max FS Tested FS Short description Publication Method Output Status
Name Model Max FS Tested FS Short description Publication Method Output Status

Status: PD: Public Domain,
Model: SM: Standard Model, MSSM: Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model
Method: HA: Helicity Amplitude, DS: Dyson Schwinger
Output: ME: Matrix Element, CS: Cross-Sections, PEG: Parton level Event Generation, FEG: Full particle level Event Generation

Higher-order Packages[edit]

Name Model Order tested Max FS Tested FS Short description Publication Method Status
Grace L-1 SM/MSSM 1-loop 2->n 2->4 complete,massive,helicity,color NA Method NA
Name Order Model Max FS Tested FS Short description Publication Method Status

Additional package for Event generation[edit]


  1. ^ Kaneko, T. (1990). "Automatic calculation of Feynman amplitudes". New computing techniques in physics research. p. 555. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Boos, E.E; et al. (1994). "Automatic calculation in high-energy physics by Grace/Chanel and CompHEP.". International Journal of Modern Physics C. 5 (4): 615. Bibcode:1994IJMPC...5..615B. doi:10.1142/S0129183194000787. 
  3. ^ Wang, J.-X. (1993). "Automatic calculation of Feynman loop-diagrams I. Generation of a simplified form of the amplitude". Computer Physics Communications. 77 (2): 263. Bibcode:1993CoPhC..77..263W. doi:10.1016/0010-4655(93)90010-A. 
  4. ^ Kaneko, T.; Nakazawa, N. (1995). "Automatic calculation of two loop weak corrections to muon anomalous magnetic moment". New computing techniques in physics research. p. 173. arXiv:hep-ph/9505278Freely accessible. Archived from the original on 2012-12-10. 
  5. ^ Jimbo, M.; (Minami-Tateya Collaboration); et al. (1995). "Automatic calculation of SUSY particle production". High energy physics and quantum field theory. p. 155. arXiv:hep-ph/9605414Freely accessible. 
  6. ^ Franzkowski, J. (1997). "Automatic calculation of massive two-loop self-energies with XLOOPS". Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A. 389 (1–2): 333. arXiv:hep-ph/9611378Freely accessible. Bibcode:1997NIMPA.389..333F. doi:10.1016/S0168-9002(97)00121-6. 
  7. ^ Brucher, L. (2000). "Automatic Feynman diagram calculation with xloops: A Short overview". arXiv:hep-ph/0002028Freely accessible. 
  8. ^ Perret-Gallix, D. (1999). "Automatic amplitude calculation and event generation for collider physics: GRACE and CompHEP". High energy physics and quantum field theory. p. 270. Archived from the original on 2012-12-11. 
  9. ^ Belanger, G.; et al. (2006). "Automatic calculations in high energy physics and GRACE at one-loop". Physics Reports. 430 (3): 117. arXiv:hep-ph/0308080Freely accessible. Bibcode:2006PhR...430..117B. doi:10.1016/j.physrep.2006.02.001. 
  10. ^ Fujimoto, J.; et al. (2004). "Automatic one-loop calculation of MSSM processes with GRACE". Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A. 534 (1–2): 246. arXiv:hep-ph/0402145Freely accessible. Bibcode:2004NIMPA.534..246F. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2004.07.095. 
  11. ^ Kanaki, A.; Papadopoulos, C.G. (2000). "HELAC: A Package to compute electroweak helicity amplitudes". Computer Physics Communications. 132 (3): 306. arXiv:hep-ph/0002082Freely accessible. Bibcode:2000CoPhC.132..306K. doi:10.1016/S0010-4655(00)00151-X. 
  12. ^ Belanger, G.; et al. (2006). "Automatic calculations in high energy physics and Grace at one-loop". Physics Reports. 430 (3): 117. arXiv:hep-ph/0308080Freely accessible. Bibcode:2006PhR...430..117B. doi:10.1016/j.physrep.2006.02.001.