Mid-January is a special time at the Fermilab LHC Physics Center, or LPC. Around this time the center hosts its annual CMS Data Analysis School, which attracts students and facilitators from the U.S. and abroad to the LPC.
What had started out as January-Term in 2006 by scientist Dan Green and others, with the intent of training fresh young researchers joining CMS to carry out physics analyses, eventually morphed into the CMS Data Analysis School. This year’s was the 10th edition of the by now highly popular school. School participation in the last three years remained at record high levels, with 60-70 students attending every year. About 40 facilitators participate in the preparation of the material and coach students during the school.
Over 100 graduate students, postdocs and faculty from around the world joined us this year. They learned about the newest developments in particle physics data analysis techniques, strengthened their skills in analysis and interacted with CMS scientists to learn more about all aspects of the experiment.
Even though there are similar CMS schools hosted by other institutions around the globe, the LPC school remains the one that provides the most comprehensive curriculum and the most attended one. Students are coached by CMS experts during sessions covering topics such as particle identification, statistics and triggering. Each student is also required to participate in the so-called long exercise, which is a full analysis based on a current one done by the CMS, which has been simplified so that it can be completed in two-and-a-half days. The school’s material continues to evolve to best address the students’ needs and the emerging physics topics and trends. For example, a machine learning exercise was added to the curriculum last year. Similarly, realizing the importance of future measurements of the di-Higgs production at the LHC, a corresponding long exercise has been introduced this year.
As in previous years, the school culminated in a full-blown competition in which teams of students presented the analysis work they completed during the previous days. The jury consisted of four CMS scientists. The winning team received a special prize, but the best reward, undoubtedly, is the knowledge acquired during the school. Thanks to the training at the LPC, these students are ready to contribute to the next round of data analyses from the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.
Cecilia Gerber (University of Illinois at Chicago) and Sergo Jindariani (Fermilab) are co-coordinators of the Fermilab LPC.
CMS Department communications are coordinated by Fermilab scientist Pushpa Bhat.