Archive by Author | willkalderon

First results from your clicks submitted to a journal


Paper submitted to the arxiv preprint server

Over the summer, we put together a paper on the HiggsHunters project and your performance, and it’s now been submitted to a journal and the arxiv preprint server – have a look!

One highlight is a discussion of your ability to identify Off-Centre Vertices compared to reconstruction algorithms, and in a substantial fraction of cases you do a better job! Out of nine different types of simulated “baby bosons”, you outperform the computers for three and come close on a further three. Below is an example of one of the cases where you do best compared to the reconstruction algorithms, with different coloured points representing different ways of clustering your clicks, for example varying N_clicks = the number of you who clicked on a given location. It’s clear you can identify vertices more efficiently (points further to the right) and with fewer false identifications (further down) than the algorithm – marked by a black star – so well done! We also talk about your abilities to spot interesting and unexpected features, for example the muon jet.


A figure from the paper, comparing vertex-finding abilities of citizen scientists (coloured points and lines) and reconstruction algorithm (black star) for a particular simulation type and image view.

This bodes well for the next steps, where with the help of researchers in schools we’ll further optimise the combination of your clicks and then apply the lessons learned to see what we can uncover in the actual data!



Happy Birthday to the Higgs Boson!


Today we’re helping the Higgs celebrate its fourth birthday!


4 years ago today, on 4th July 2012, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations each presented complementary results on two searches for the Higgs boson, prompting CERN Director General Rolph Heuer to pronounce “I think we have it!” Here at HiggsHunters we’re also celebrating your millionth click from over 580,000 image classifications, a fantastic achievement from everyone that’s also been recognised by our friends at CERN. We’d also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who replied to our survey a few weeks ago – it’s great to know what brought you to the project and what you’ve learned from it, and also how you think we can improve things.


Over the next few weeks we’ll be putting the finishing touches to a first analysis of your image hunting, and a final burst of inspection will really help us make the most of it. Stay tuned to see some results from all your hard work, but for now enjoy some of our celebrations below!



Happy Birthday to you!


Cutting the cake


Slice view?


All gone except for a lone muon. Stuffed!

Vertex-finding successes!

Here are a few (of many!) nice examples where you’ve collectively outperformed the reconstruction algorithms to find some Off-Centre Vertices in simulation.

Image 1 – AHH00002qz ‘zoom’


7 clicks from 7 people (marked with pale blue dots) form a cluster (orange dot at (420,590)) right on top of one the ‘truth’ (i.e. real, from simulation) OCVs (yellow dots) – well done!

Image 2 – AHH00002rw ‘normal’


Here 3 people have together identified both OCVs – the orange dots are hidden underneath the yellow ones since they’re spot on!

Image 2 –  AHH00006xk ‘slice’


Saving the best for last: a more complicated image, with a few ‘stray’ tracks complicating things. However, when combined the 28 clicks from 7 people form clusters bang on the simulated decay points! As an aside: the ‘weird’ clicks are marking the little coloured dots you often see in slice views – these are completely expected, and show the positions of all the proton-proton collisions that happened at the same time but at different positions along the beam pipe (which runs horizontally across the centre of the image).


It’s great to see you all doing such a good job at finding these OCVs, more analysis to follow!

Analysis time

With the 2016 LHC restart well under way, having successfully recovered from attacks by small mammals (BBC article), it’s time to start analysing your clicks in earnest! Over the past year and a half you’ve made more than half a million classifications (thank you!), and flagged a whole host of interesting features. Over the next few months we’ll be extending the work done by Thomas (e.g. here) on this enlarged dataset to see what we can find out! Stay tuned for more details, and keep on clicking – every image you look at is potentially an as-yet unseen event!