A Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN funded by the Horizon2020 program of the European Commission



Fashionable researcher

by Greg Kotkowski

Usually, fashion and science are like the opposite sides of a magnet – if one is important then the other is left behind. Let us add up the odds and take some thoughts about the aspects of a PhD student’s physical appearance. It is quite peculiar that I mention this subject, because I don’t care much about my look. Specifically, let me mention hairdressing. Not the last trends, as I know absolutely nothing about the subject, but rather the problem of getting a haircut abroad. Continue reading “Fashionable researcher”

Higgs Hacking

by Giles Strong

A few days before I returned from CERN at the beginning of the month, I attended a talk on the upcoming TrackML challenge. This is a competition beginning this month in which members of the public will be invited to try and find a solution to the quite tricky problem of accurate reconstruction of particle trajectories in the collisions at the LHC. The various detectors simply record the hits where particles pass by, however to make use of this data, the hits in surrounding detector layers must be combined into a single flight path, called a track. Continue reading “Higgs Hacking”

Having a taste of business

by Greg Kotkowski

I have spent the last three months in the SDG company in Milan for my private sector secondment, which is a part of my contract. During this time I was able to have a closer look at how it is to work in a consulting company and to put my hands on real business problems. Herein, I want to summarise some of my experiences and deliberate on the R language – an inseparable friend of statisticians. Continue reading “Having a taste of business”

Multidimensional Scaling of National Holidays

by Greg Kotkowski

Living abroad brings a lot of experience and surprises. One of them is to enjoy countries’ diversity and customs for particular holidays that are not celebrated in the homeland. The other thing is when you discover on your calendar a vacation day due to some national event about which you had no idea. Another time, national vacations could bring troubles when it comes to cooperation between nodes in different countries. Continue reading “Multidimensional Scaling of National Holidays”

Deliverable 4.2 Is Out

by Tommaso Dorigo

I am happy to report that an important new product of the AMVA4NewPhysics ITN is now public. This is generically titled “Report on a Statistical Learning Method for Model-Independent Searches for New Physics“, and labeled D4.2 as per the grant agreement we signed with the European Union. The document is available at the following link:

What is this document about ? It is a description of the studies for the development of a software package aiming at automating the searches for new physics in LHC data, by evidencing anomalous clusterings of events that are hard to explain with known physics processes. I am sure that Fabricio and Grzegorz, the two main developers of the software (Deliverable 4.3, available on github at and its documentation (D4.2) will be happy to post in this blog a more complete description of the new package and its possible uses in particle physics research.

Summarising blog content

by Greg Kotkowski

A year ago I posted an article that visualised with word clouds subjects touched by the authors of this blog. The clouds contained stemmed and filtered nouns and verbs used in posts for each author that had produced at least 3 articles. Giles had suggested to take up the argument again the following year for a comparison, so here it is. Continue reading “Summarising blog content”

What is Statistical Significance?

by Tommaso Dorigo

Yesterday, October 20, was the international day of Statistics. I took inspiration from it to select a clip from chapter 7 of my book Anomaly! Collider physics and the quest for new phenomena at Fermilab which attempts to explain how physicists use the concept of statistical significance to give a quantitative meaning to their measurements of new effects. I hope you will enjoy it….


As we near the discussion of the discovery of the top quark, we need to make a digression to explain an important concept used by particle physicists to measure the level of surprise of an observation, i.e., how much are data at odds with a hypothesis. In a nutshell, the statistical significance of an observed Continue reading “What is Statistical Significance?”

Summer activities at LIP-Lisbon

by Giles Strong

So, it’s been a while since my last post, apologies for that, but the summer has been both busy and eventful, so let me summarise what’s been happening. Continue reading “Summer activities at LIP-Lisbon”

Astro@stats Workshop

by Greg Kotkowski

On Friday, September 8 th I attended a Sino-Italian workshop on astrostatistics organized at the Department of Statistical Sciences in Padova. It touched current topics at the interface between Astronomy, Physics and Statistics. At a first glance, I was surprised by the similarity of the research topics that are faced across different fields of science. Often the main difference lays only in the data and the assumptions of the underlying data generating process. Continue reading “Astro@stats Workshop”

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