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ATLAS releases 13-TeV open data for science education

The collaboration has made public the data of 1 quadrillion proton-proton collisions from the LHC’s last run

3D visualisation of the ATLAS detector using the tools provided for analysing the open data
3D visualisation of the ATLAS detector using the tools provided for analysing the open data (Image: ATLAS collaboration/CERN)

The ATLAS collaboration has just released the first open dataset from the Large Hadron Collider’s (LHC) highest-energy run at 13 teraelectronvolts (TeV). The new release is specially developed for science education, underlining the collaboration’s long-standing commitment to students and teachers using open-access ATLAS data and related tools.

ATLAS has made public 10 inverse femtobarns (fb−1) of the 13-TeV data, which corresponds to about 1 quadrillion proton-proton collisions, or 500 thousand produced Higgs bosons. It is also approximately the same amount of data that the ATLAS collaboration used to discover the Higgs boson in 2012. The datasets, software and tools are available on the ATLAS public website and on theCERN Open Data Portal.

“Our high-energy collision open data, recorded during the second run of the LHC, provides insight into the real world of particle-physics analysis. Students, scholars and interested members of the public will be able to reproduce ATLAS physics results in a fully realistic manner, understanding for themselves the fascinating study of nature at its deepest level”, says Karl Jakobs, ATLAS spokesperson.

ATLAS has also released new simulated data sets and web-based and offline analysis software, as well as extensive documentation and tutorials. “These are the tools of a particle physicist’s trade, allowing us to go from data-taking to physics measurements and eventually discovery,” says Arturo Sánchez Pineda, co-leader of the ATLAS Open Data team (University of Udine, ICTP and INFN, Italy). “Simulated datasets allow physicists to compare theory with real data. They are based on theoretical models of the expected physics processes taking place in the collisions, together with a detailed description of the ATLAS detector. By providing such resources, we hope to empower students, professors and dedicated self-learners worldwide to learn and teach experimental particle physics, as well as the computer science behind the field.”

An exciting feature of the new open-data release is its ability to put learners in the role of the "discoverer". “For the first time, students will be able to ‘re-discover’ the Higgs boson (in three different decay channels) and can even search through the data for physics beyond the Standard Model, such as dark matter.” explains Kate Shaw, co-leader of the ATLAS Open Data team (University of Sussex, UK). “These new avenues for study will greatly enhance understanding of the experimental side of data analysis – a particular advantage for budding researchers.”


This text is based on an article published by the ATLAS collaboration.
Read the full article on the ATLAS website.