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Anomaly Detection: Unsupervised Learning For New Physics Searches

Experimental particle physics, the field of research I have been involved in since my infancy as...

Six Questions On AMVA4NewPhysics

The European Commission pays close attention to document the work of the projects that benefited...

The Plot Of The Week - Multiple Pentaquark Candidates

It is a bit embarrassing to post here a graph of boring elementary particle signals, when the rest...

Accelerating The Search For Dark Matter With Machine Learning

Yes, this is supposedly a particle physics blog, not a machine learning one - and yet, I have been...

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Tommaso DorigoRSS Feed of this column.

Tommaso Dorigo is an experimental particle physicist, who works for the INFN at the University of Padova, and collaborates with the CMS experiment at the CERN LHC. He coordinates the European network... Read More »

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For the tenth anniversary of this blog being hosted by Science 2.0, which is coming in a few days, I decided to reinstall the habit I once had of weekly picking and commenting on a result from high-energy physics research, a series I called "The Plot Of The Week". These days I am busier than I used to be when this blog started being published here, so I am not sure I will be able to keep a weekly pace for this series; on the other hand I want to make an attempt, and the first step in that direction is this article.
Last Monday and Tuesday I gave a few lectures on Machine Learning at a Data Science school (IDPASC) in Braga, Portugal. I think that this topic has received so much attention in the last few years, with heaps of excellent resources now freely available online, that it is very difficult to be original and provide useful information to any student who is proactive enough to google "auto-encoders" by herself.


Update: a reader points out that a similar idea was already proposed and implemented in a commercial program. I'm glad to know this! (I would certainly not try to push my own implementation against a commercial product). I was however disappointed to see that the implementation, while perfectly acceptable from the point of view of quantum mechanics, is lacking in a few important ways from the chess logic point of view (some comments are in the thread below). Anyway, this is an example of a good idea coming too late...
What is dark matter (DM)? This is one of the most pressing questions in fundamental science nowadays. We have observed that only one fifth of the matter that exists in the Universe clusters into stars and emits light - the rest appears to only interact gravitationally, producing phenomena we can study through the dynamics of galaxy rotation or by observing the deflection of light passing through it.
Nima Arkani-Hamed needs no introduction - he's a superstar theoretical physicist, and whenever he speaks, his colleagues listen - so much so that his seminars regularly overrun twice past their scheduled duration, without anybody blinking. 

And today it's your lucky day (and mine), as you get to listen to a clear thinker explaining what really is the status of research in fundamental physics, and why it is actually extremely exciting, much to the discomfort of those who would prefer that public money were spent to reduce taxes (if you don't get the pun, please leave).
Today's news is that five months after Alessandro Strumia's controversial talk at a conference on "Theory and Gender", CERN decided to terminate the Italian theorist's status of "guest professor", effectively cutting its ties with him. The decision certainly affects the ability of Strumia to further his research in particle phenomenology, which centered on models of physics beyond the Standard Model, and is rather unprecedented.