$2.6 Million DOE Award Will Support Computational High-Energy Physics Training |  UNIU press room

$2.6 Million DOE Award Will Support Computational High-Energy Physics Training | UNIU press room

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a $2.6 million grant to Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago to provide classroom training and research opportunities in computational high energy physics (HEP).

The CERN data center. Photo credit: CERN.

Over the next five years, the award aims to provide two dozen master’s-level students in physics and computer science with stipends, tuition reimbursement, and opportunities to collaborate with scientists at Argonne National Laboratory in the DOE and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

“The great thing about this grant is that the overwhelming majority of funding goes directly to students,” said Professor NIU Jahred Adelman, a particle physicist who leads the grant project. It is known as the Chicagoland Computational Traineeship in High Energy Particle Physics, or C2-the p2, to shorten it. NIU physics faculty members Vishnu Zutshi, Jerry Blazey and Mike Eads are also involved.

VS2-the p2 is one of three projects that were selected through peer review as part of a DOE funding opportunity announcement. Total funding is $10 million for the three projects lasting up to five years, with $1 million in fiscal year 2022 dollars and out-of-year funding dependent on congressional appropriations.

HEP relies on increasingly complex software and calculations to achieve scientific discoveries. DOE funding supports the training of the next generation of scientists to develop and maintain the United States’ global competitiveness in these important fields.

Cutaway view of one of the dipole magnets used to direct proton beams around the ring of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Photo credit: CERN.

“Future discoveries in high-energy physics will require large, accurate simulations and efficient collaborative software,” said Regina Rameika, DOE associate science director for high-energy physics. “These internships will train the scientists and engineers needed to design, develop, deploy and maintain the software and computing infrastructure essential for the future of high-energy physics.”

Adelman and other particle physicists use particle accelerator experiments to understand how the smallest and most fundamental building blocks of the universe interact and talk to each other. Particle accelerators are devices that accelerate the particles that make up all matter in the universe and cause them to collide or hit a target. This allows scientists to study these particles and the forces that shape them.

One of the challenges for particle accelerator labs such as CERN in Europe, where Adelman conducts his research, and closer to home at Fermilab, is to develop new computational tools needed to analyze and understand huge amounts of data generated by particle accelerator experiments.

“There is clearly a need for young scientists who are passionate about particle physics and also want to learn software and computing skills,” Adelman said. “With this program, the NIU and UIC are partnering with Fermilab and Argonne to train students who will develop expertise that is truly necessary for the success of our field.”

HEP experiments in some of the most advanced laboratories in the world utilize software development that requires detailed knowledge and understanding of computer hardware systems. Internship students will work and advance collaborative software environments that enable the sharing of tools and datasets consistently and efficiently for hundreds or thousands of scientific users. Students will also develop software and algorithms capable of taking advantage of increasingly parallel computing platforms, either synchronously or asynchronously.

A student has already started the internship at NIU. The NIU and UIC are both developing new courses for the program, and the institutions will jointly sponsor professional development opportunities and an IT seminar specifically for program participants.

Beyond the skills acquired in class, student theses will be devoted to HEP IT projects carried out under the guidance of HEP IT experts. Projects will address three target areas of need: hardware-software co-design, collaborative software infrastructure, and high-performance software and algorithms. Students will be able to graduate and enter the workforce or stay on to complete their doctorate. in HEP.

“Particle physics experiments provide incredible learning opportunities for students,” Adelman said. “Students develop skills essential to our field and to all kinds of areas of the economy, such as data science, high performance computing and the optimization of new computing architectures. Some stay in academia and others get great jobs that contribute immensely to our economy.

Media contact: Tom Parisi

About UNI

Northern Illinois University is a nationally recognized, student-centered public research university with expertise that benefits its region and spans the globe in a wide variety of fields, including the sciences, humanities, arts , business, engineering, education, health and law. Through its main campus in DeKalb, Illinois, and student and professional training centers in Chicago, Naperville, Oregon, and Rockford, NIU offers more than 100 fields of study while serving a diverse and international student body. .

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