500,000 Euros for use of artificial intelligence in particle research

The Netherlands eScience Center has honoured the software project of theoretical physicist Juan Rojo (VU/ Nikhef). The project focuses on the use of graphics processors and self-learning computers for research into the strong nuclear force.

04/16/2021 | 1:36 PM

Under the ASDI program (accelerating scientific discovery), the project will receive half a million euros. Half of that is an in-kind contribution, consisting of work by software specialists at the eScience Center. The rest is earmarked to hire new post-doc researchers. A total of eight projects in the ASDI 2020 have been honoured.

Strong nuclear force
The project of Juan Rojo is about the optimal use of graphics processors for research into the strong nuclear force, the force between quarks and gluons in nuclear particles. Rojo wants to use artificial intelligence to better visualize that force in experiments.

So far, learning computers have been used for specific analyses of the strong force in, for example, nuclear particles or atomic nuclei. Rojo and his team are now going to develop software that connects to graphical computing and can be used more generally in accelerator experiments.

Gaming industry
Graphics processors have been developed in the gaming industry because they can relatively cheaply process large amounts of data simultaneously. In recent years, interest in the new techniques has been growing from the scientific community, including in particle physics. The eScience Center recognizes this new trend with the this project.

In time, Rojo hopes to use the new techniques in a new accelerator project in the US, the Electron Ion Collider at Brookhaven, in which he is involved. This EIC should come on line around 2030.