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Chapter 10: Physics
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As indicated in Chapter 9: Physics, the software for an experiment falls into three main categories: physics simulation, experiment hardware simulation, and analysis. (There can be, of course, various other utility software involved such as that used for calibration of detectors and electronics but we'll focus on these three primary tasks.) In fact, a large experiment might split software assignments among three groups: one to produce the basic physics simulators, one to simulate the detector hardware, and a third to produce the analysis software.

Long before the experiment begins to run , the analysis group will rely on the simulation software to produce realistic data on which the analysis programs can "practice". The process will require a bootstrap approach as the software of each team develops. For example, the analysis software will only need crude simulator data initially to debug the code. The detector software will become more realistic once the detectors begin to undergo calibration tests and produce data on which to tune the simulators. Feedback from the analysis programming could correct possible errors in the detector and physics programs.

Ideally the simulated data would eventually reach such a degree of realism that it would allow for "double-blind" tests of the analyzes to reduce systematic biases.

We will continue with our demonstration of experimental simulation and data analysis with our mass drop example. Though it deals rather trivial physics, it will help to illustrate the basic concepts and techniques involved in developing the simulation and analysis programs to support a actual experiment.



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