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The solution was to use the DaVinci cluster at Rice to generate the backgrounds by running up to 200 Pythia simulation runs at once. This process generated enough background for 12 t-tbar events and this served as our test set. Unfortunately signal-to-noise ratio in the test set was so low that the logistic regression algorithm in WEKA could not be trained against it – the resulting model failed to detect any t-tbar events at all. Also, training logistic regression on the full test set strained the memory capabilities of the Java virtual machine it was run on, leading to frequent crashes.

To get around this, the author decided to compromise and experiment with training the logistic regression classifier on much smaller training sets with differing ratios of t-tbar events to background events. The performance of the resulting models were then tested on the cross-validation set containing 10,000 of each type of event. The model generated from a training set with a ratio of tt-bar to background events of about 50 seemed to perform the best. (See Table TODO).

Results

As a result of performing the above optimizations, the efficiency of the logistic regression model at analyzing the very large test set improved by over a factor of 30 while only halving the true positive rate, as shown in Table TODO. It is important to note that the false positive ratio is still much too high for top quarks to be discoverable with a data set of this size. Since we are dealing with counting statistics of independent events, the uncertainty in the background count is approximately the square root of the background count, corresponding to a standard deviation of about 13. Since our signal is only 6 t-tbar events, this means we have a signal significance of about 0 . 4 σ . In order to get a statistically significant result, we would need to collect around 150 times as much raw data.

Conclusion

We have demonstrated that we can optimize our use of linear regression to exploit characteristics of a particular particle physics data set. Existing tools like WEKA make using machine learning for this task relatively straightforward, with no need to reinvent the wheel.

It should be noted that this project has neglected the most difficult and computationally intensive part of identifying new physics with particle detectors: modeling the performance of the particle detectors themselves. Modern particle detectors are incredibly complicated pieces of machinery and modeling their capabilities (which change often as components are upgraded) requires a measurable fraction of the planet's computing resources. (ref Grid Computing)

Future work

Dr. Subramanian also suggested that classifier performance could be improved by combining several integer features, namely how many of each type of lepton were found in each event, into one category feature, namely which lepton type was found. This makes sense because the high-level trigger eliminates all events that do not have exactly one lepton. A simple script should be able to transform all of the existing data to make this possible.

References

WEKA PythiaParticle physics book

h t t p : / / w w w . r e a d w r i t e w e b . c o m / a r c h i v e s / c e r n o f f i c i a l l y u n v e i l s i t s g r . p h p

Acknowledgments

The author would like to thank Dr. Paul Padley and Dr. Devika Subramanian for providing advice and training for this project, as well as Dr. Andrew Ng for his excellent and fun on-line machine learning class.

Directions for using code

Install Pythia 8 and WEKA on your UNIX machine. The included scripts and Makefile assume that the WEKA classes are in /usr/share/java/weka.jar and that the directory containing the code and data files is located in the pythia directory. See the included README file for more details.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Introductory survey and applications of machine learning methods. OpenStax CNX. Dec 22, 2011 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11400/1.1
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