Running state-of-the-art particle physics research on Steem - a status report after 3 months

in #utopian-io3 years ago

There are many developers and people with programming skills hanging around on Steem and in particular around Three months ago, I asked these people a very simple question. Would they be interested in contributing to state-of-the-art research in particle physics?

[image credits: Roxaneweb (CC BY-SA 4.0)]

This idea was received very positively, and about 10 people answered that they want to try and come on board.

This was sufficient to me to start a project of allowing Steem contributions to my own research work.

The main topic is utilizing the results found by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in the best possible way through the development of an open source platform for the reinterpretation of LHC results.

We are now three months later and I'm here to summarize what has been accomplished so far. I will briefly review the grand goal of this project, the material on particle physics I provided (to help understanding the context) and how to tackle this with programming.

The amazing fact is that a public platform that I am co-developing, used by particle physicists from all over the world, now includes contributions from Steem.


This is an exciting time for particle physics. Its Standard Model is now complete (in terms of particle discoveries), and data seems to confirm it very strongly.

[image credits: Pixabay (CC0)]

However, it is clear that the Standard Model is not the end of the story. There must be something behind it.

The LHC experimental collaborations are therefore undertaking many searches for the new phenomena predicted by the various theories proposed to extend the Standard Model.

The only problem is that there is a plethora of possible variants of a large number of theories, and not all of them can be tested experimentally due to limited human resources.

For this reason, platforms on which anyone can test the model of physics of his/her dream are very important. Some collaborators and myself started to develop an open source platform (named MadAnalysis 5) to do just that several years ago. The problem is that, in order to use it for the reinterpretation of the results of the LHC, experimental analyses must be reimplemented one by one (at least for now).

This is where Steem and come into the game!


[image credits: Pcharito (CC BY-SA 3.0)]

Using Steem and Utopian to contribute to state-of-the-art research is not easy, for the simple reason that even if one is skilled in programming, one needs to understand what to program.

This, of course, is where I can help.

Through a series of posts accompanied by exercises (that have been rewarded when done), I reviewed the objects that are observed in a typical LHC detector, how analyses make use of them, and how this is implemented in the MadAnalysis 5 framework.

In detail, we have:

Now, everyone is correctly equipped to tackle the real deal!


Although task requests have not been posted yet, five Steemians (@crokkon, @effofex, @irelandscape and @mactro) strongly contributed to the project so far and solved most of the exercises.

Three histogramming modules (here, here. and there) have been developed as external tools to be used with MadAnalysis 5, by @crokkon, @effofex and @irelandscape. All of these modules are now officially endorsed by the MadAnalysis 5 team.

[image credits: Pixabay (CC0)]

One tutorial explaining how to run MadAnalysis 5 on windows 10 has been released. This tutorial is now an official MadAnalysis 5 tutorial.

Moreover, @irelandscape wrote varied posts explaining his understanding of particle physics, which I took a lot of pleasure in reading (and clarifying where necessary).

Very importantly, it is not too late to join the project and get rewarded for it!


[image credits: geralt (CC0)]

It is now time to make explicit task requests for reimplementing varied ATLAS and CMS searches for new phenomena at the LHC. In other words, it is time for Steemians to start contributing actively to particle physics research, and be rewarded for it.

While more details will be posted in the next couple of weeks, please do not hesitate to re-read the posts mentioned above for help on how to do.

Moreover, on Friday I released a freely available comprehensive and pedagogical introduction to MadAnalysis 5. Appendix B should be useful, as well as sections 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4. The rest will be important too, but for the next phases of this project.

I am now about to leave for two weeks of offline life. I wish everyone a very nice summer break and thank everyone for helping make use of Steem for scientific research.

See you all by the end of the month!


Thanks for the contribution.

Very nice to see how to project grows here, and very clear state of the art report.

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Thank you for your review, @kit.andres!

So far this week you've reviewed 1 contributions. Keep up the good work!

It is good to see serious research efforts on steem. At least from this perspective, there seems to be nothing more valuable to share on steem than research.

It simply does not make sense to produce research in secluded non-feedback environments with research money being wasted in non-transparent ways.


Thanks for the feedback. Note that transparency is a very field dependent statement. In particle physics, we are a kind of example: all our major journals are open access, most our codes are open source and public, etc... I am very happy to be part of such a field :)

Hello @lemouth sir

Only the blind will not recognize your numerous contribution to the growth of this community. From @steemstem to to now great alliance with @utopian-io to develop a community of particles physicists. This is awesome. Steemit is happy to have someone like you.

Enjoy your break richly. All the best sir.

@eurogee of @euronation and @steemstem communities

+1 couldn't say it better :)

Thanks! :)

Thanks for your nice message and encouraging words. Strictly speaking, I don't want to develop a community of particle physicists on Steem, but instead offering those already on Steem to contribute to particle physics research. There is a slight difference ;)

Anyways, see you very soon, in two weeks!

Oh thanks for the clarification. Do enjoy your holidays

Many thanks. I will! This is probably my last message before two weeks ^^

This is absolutely amazing. I was not aware that such a project existed. I find the idea particularly interesting in the context of funding independent scientific work. With numerous scientific scandals of faking results, corruption and bribery, this could become an interesting way to face those problems. Keep on rockin @lemouth!

Interesting comment! I really appreciate it and I am tempted to follow you in a debate. Please allow me for bringing my two cents. :)

Maybe in some future (and I am really looking forward to this future), research will be fundable with Steem or cryptos in general. However, we are not there yet. For instance, a PhD student costs about 40.000 EUR per year, and one needs to pay him during three years. So, in short, we can't really fund personal costs. However, travel costs for a small group (a few thousands per year) is probably achievable.

Here, with my small project, the scale is even more different. With a few hundreds of dollars in upvotes, we indeed can make a difference already today. We indeed don't need dozens of thousands of dollars. With this amount, we can open the doors of the world of scientific research to anyone who has time and who wants to help.

And this is what I find amazing. I tried to give this option to Steemians, and it fully works!

Interesting project! Thank you for coming back at the comment :)

Your comment sent me on a little google-research concerning the funding of independent scientific research. I ended up reading this article (downloadable pdf).

"All of these observations speak to the ways in which the lack of diversification
in science funding, its restriction primarily to corporate and governmental interests, erects
obstacles to the sustained production of scientific knowledge."

The article shines a light on the very topic you and me are talking about. A community which funds independent scientific research and development might sound like a utopian dream (no pun intended). But it is totally reachable! Really looking forward to see projects like this grow :)

Check out the article, quite interesting.

"All of these observations speak to the ways in which the lack of diversification
in science funding, its restriction primarily to corporate and governmental interests, erects
obstacles to the sustained production of scientific knowledge."

Let's just say that the world is neither white nor black, but rather grey instead. For instance, I am allowed to do research on what I want, but what I miss consists in students and postdocs. And here, it is indeed super hard to find funding (this is even true for theoretical physics in general). So yes, we are back to the sentence, and to the article in fact :)

I am not against it, just to be clear. But in order to fund PhD students or postdoc position, we need an certain amount of money that cannot be found that easily in the crypto-world... for now (which is also what state this article somehow: there are potential ways).

I cannot talk about the future, and I hope the crypto-world will be able to help scientific research in the future. It is not that expensive at the end of the day and the investment often pays off.

However, in the meantime of seeing the emergence of these new developments, I decided to focus on something that could work on Steem at a much smaller scale. Baby step by baby step, somehow.

PS: thanks for the article.

Several interesting comments here... I think you're stressing the 'PhD' factor too much. Taking it in smaller parcels, like you're doing with the project, is more feasible. It's more like a single class, done online via steem, so something like a steeMOOC, where people can learn how to program for physics, let's say. That's perfectly manageable with the money available.

I agree with you, of course. When people discuss funding research with external money, they usually think about funding a team, which is not possible without government money at the moment (because the scale of the costs). However, if we omit human resources, it is clear that great things can be done with little money.

This is quite impressive. You've definitely earned your summer break!

Thanks a lot! The break is actually very necessary, not only on the Steem aspects but also related to my IRL job. I am exhausted this year :)

It is incredible how through Steem you can propel such large and ingenious projects of this kind, I hope you can achieve your goals, I definitely think that the understanding and development of science, as well as the functioning of nanoparticles or macroparticles are the basis for human development, even will surely be the initiative of many medical projects that are currently being developed.

I really hope it will work as well. This, we will know in a few weeks/months (I am not in a hurry). I am also looking forward to see more of such initiative in other fields (like you, somehow).

Thanks for passing by.

Hey @lemouth
Thanks for contributing on Utopian.
We’re already looking forward to your next contribution!

Want to chat? Join us on Discord

Vote for Utopian Witness!

The amazing fact is that a public platform that I am co-developing, used by particle physicists from all over the world, now includes contributions from Steem.


However, it is clear that the Standard Model is not the end of the story. There must be something behind it.

Will this ever cease to be the case? Will we ever reach the end of the story? Do you think we'll ever reach a place where there's no more 'behind'?

A truly wonderful project. I'm currently attempting to learn python, but it'll be a long way (if ever) till I can contribute anything to any worthwhile project :D

Have a cool summer break!

Will this ever cease to be the case? Will we ever reach the end of the story? Do you think we'll ever reach a place where there's no more 'behind'?

Who knows? We may imagine ending up with a more general theory (embedding the Standard Model in some limit) that works at all energies. The point is that the current paradigm works well but has limitations. It is thus clear there is something beyond.

A truly wonderful project. I'm currently attempting to learn python, but it'll be a long way (if ever) till I can contribute anything to any worthwhile project :D

Here the python part is not needed to be understood. Only the C++ one ^^

It is amazing what steem and utopian are capable of doing... actually helping with researching physics!

I wish you the best of luck in this journey @lemouth! And enjoy your 2 weeks of offline time :)


Thanks for the nice wishes. I would not have believed myself running such a project on Steem three months ago, and I was so pleased to see it working. The future is bright!

See you very soon in two weeks! :)

This is an awesome achievement (to say the least). I mean, propagating particle physics research on the steem blockchain is really a milestone achievement. And I believe the best is yet to come.
I salute your contributions sir.

Enjoy your Vacay

I am not sure it propagates yet. It is clear that the seeds have been planted, but we are only at the beginning. I am however very confident for the future! :)

Thanks for the nice wishes and see you in two weeks (I know I already told you that elsewhere... or at least I think I have :p )

Yes you told me. We hope to see the pictures and stories of the vacation in @lesmouths-travel :p

As we will be traveling offline, you will have to wait a little bit :)

But this is a good idea!

Great stuff. Thanks for the recap and all the good work.
Looking forward to these task requests!

I am sure you will try them out! Thanks for your very intense participation to this project :)

Bonnes Vacances!

Merci beaucoup!

What is going on? A person like you should be in a lab to make inventions. When are you going to apply all this learning to practical and make a video for us?

A person like you should be in a lab to make inventions

For god sake no! I am a theorist... Believe me, you don't want to see me playing with screwdrivers :D

When are you going to apply all this learning to practical and make a video for us?

It is very practical. 5 Steemians, who are not particle physicists, are contributing to state-of-the-art research in particle physics. The entire field of research does not only consist of applied research. There is also other stuff, that are as useful. I can easily convince you if you want to enter the debate (to quote a few examples: please think about the GPS back in 1917 for instance, or about hadron-therapy in its early days, or even about the web).

theorist ... ok I got this now. But it is amazing to see that you enjoy writing about things which make me sleep :p

I always enjoy writing about my field in full generality, which ranges from theory to experiments. We are physicists after all. The "theory"/"experiment" tag is a small detail.

This is truly awesome, looking at the progress so far.

Even though I know only little about particle physics "helping make use of Steem for scientific research" is an idea I believe will take the steemit platform to greater heights

I hope so too! Thanks for passing by and your nice message! ;)

Incredible achievement of the community

Totally. and I am sure we can even go further, but this will be for the next semester :)

I'm not sure if this would be something for me, but I can certainly appreciate how amazing it is that this is possible through Steem and Utopian.

If anyone ever says to me again, that there's only low-quality content on Steem, I'll point them towards posts like these.

Thanks a lot for the very nice comment. Note that We are trying to encourage high-quality posts through the steemstem project. Don't hesitate to pay us a visit on discord! :)


This post truly shows how much you have contributed to the growth of this platform. Thanks very much and do have wonderful moment during your holiday period. Thanks

STEM contributor

Thanks for passing by and for the nice wishes. See you hopefully very soon, in two weeks ^^

Particle Physics on Steemit....My non-Steemit friends who are Physicists will definitely come on board with news like this

He should come. Please advertise steemSTEM to him. Scientists (and STEM in general) are very welcome! Do you mind advertising our discord server to him? Thanks in advance!

Is time fundamental or emergent?

As usual with your questions, I would say we don't know. But here, it does not matter :)

I think the mystery of time is one of the most intriguing and crucial aspects in all of theoretical physics.

Yes, that is true. But this is one of the mysteries for which we are very far to get any answer at all. There are other items much more manageable on short time scales (this being said, some physicists are of course working on the foundations of physics; we need to tackle all questions).

well , you people in #steemstem are probably community pillar ichibin (#1) to represent what can be done if people put their minds to it for real ... i wonder if there's any way to just give processing power ? like the distributed stuff you have with SETI and the folding and genome project ? my windows pc is mainly unused all night or i just turn on some clicker games to get achievements while i'm trying to keep my head together for some scripting ... because i dont think i'm at the level to do LHC research yet , certainly not at the structural level lol

great work, truly

There are several '@home' project around the LHC as well, where anyone can help. You can have a look here, for instance, to get information on the main ones.

great , still BOINC :) , that should be fairly straightforward, i could run it on a low setting, i dont wanna burn my only decent gpu lol but since its sitting there when its on i might as well...

have you ever considered co-operation with Valve , i mean

"idle" games have been a thing for a while now, its stuff that doesnt require much attention and plays itself , i'm sure if someone from LHC/Cern stepped up to the lord of sales, the allmighty and unholy Gaben , a free-to-download idle game with steam achievements that runs a bit of decentralized computing (distributed sorry) on the side would be greenlit in about 1 millisecond lol, + a banner on "partnership" and "proud to announce" and all that ... free advertising for the girls and boys, more gpu for you boys and girls :)

its a bit above my braingrade to make an attempt at that myself but seeing as you have access to programmers who help decipher your data one of those shouldnt be too hard (the likes of time clickers or idle champions of the forgotten realms, idling to rule the gods or crusaders of the lost idols or such, plenty of examples, games that just run while you're not watching, including the much wanted steam achievements for that feeling of achievement on the daily lol)

just ...
an idea :D ... i only seem to get those for what might get me something in the long run (time travel or FTL-drives so i can move to proxima centauri in this case hahah)

[edit] :p
actually as i was in the shower right after (please dont have a visual on that haha) i thought :
you could even make it educational in a way , a bit like NASA's moonbase simulator i once played on steam, also free to download.
cool stuff but after a while i stopped from frustration , the first problem is the cables and pipes getting damaged (from impact by micro meteorites or whats it called) and you have to run around like crazy in zero g (heh) to fix it before you choke to death (and freeze maybe ? and maybe that pressure thing too) but my first idea was to put them underground in small dug tunnels, like irrigation channels a bit (could cover them up with rubble, no need for extra material , all the moonrocks are right there, right, and if you pour moon-concrete on it its hard to fix cos you have to break it open so just a little tunnel with a pile of rubble on top would more than protect from those micro-impacts)
but it didnt have that option , lol, so i just had to keep running the timer and i got frustrated with it because my solution was better (mini ego-trip ) for once:)
but in your case the game would be completely 2d and use as little resources as possible so the slider can use as many as left and anyone wants to share, +education
for free, triple whammy , i'm gonna eat
bon appétit

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as longer you don't create a black hole I can help XD

We don't create anything. We only code to reinterpret existing data in order to understand what nature could be or cold not be at its most fundamental level.

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