Fermilab hosts CMS Data Analysis School

Flavia Dias, a graduate student at the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil, asks instructor Kalanand Mishra questions about her analysis as other attendees of the CMS Data Analysis School watch. The school took place at Fermilab during the last week of January.

The Large Hadron Collider is just days away from restarting at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland, and a new flock of scientists are ready for the deluge of data.

On Jan. 25-29, Fermilab hosted the CMS Data Analysis School, an intensive workshop that gives the newest members of the collaboration a crash course on the experiment. Previously known as the “EJTERM” workshop, Fermilab’s LHC Physics Center co-coordinators, Rick Cavanaugh and Ian Shipsey, decided to rename the school to emphasize its primary focus: the analysis of real data and the opportunity to search for new physics.

“The innovative classes allow students, in some cases with zero experience, to work with real data physics measurements that CMS published just days before and then make them more precise by searching for new processes that the collaboration hasn’t done yet,” Shipsey said. “The students continue to work on the measurements they started and then see it through to publication after the school is over.”

Flavia Dias, a graduate student at the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil, was one of the 60 attendees who participated in exercises at the school. Her favorite part was the long exercise, a two-and-a-half day activity that had the students reproduce a specific data analysis.

“The school joined together all of the basic elements that are necessary for data analysis and helped you solve your problem in minutes rather than weeks,” she said.

CMS senior scientists and software experts taught all of the classes, giving graduate students like Andrew York from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the opportunity to meet key people on the collaboration, contacts who should be handy as he starts to work on his dissertation.

“The opportunity to meet in person with a lot of the experts was extremely useful,” he said. “The school is very good for bringing a new generation of people into the experiment.”

CMS hopes to have similar schools in Asia and Europe within the next six to 12 months.

Elizabeth Clements