Simulating the Highest Energy Collisions in the World

3C00/4C00 Project

Prof. Jon Butterworth, Dr. Ben Waugh

Projects under this general title have been offered each year since 2004. They are individual projects, but two students a year can do one. Each project picks a different aspect of data from one of the world's big particle accelerators, works out how to compare the measurement to the latest models of particle physics, and if possible adjusts the parameters of the models to improve the agreement and thus improve our understanding of fundamental physics.

The projects are very computing based; the main task is to write, and then use, a routine to make a "measurement" using simulated data. So some previous knowledge of programming would be very useful. The routine is added to the HZTOOL library and will be used in future by other physicists as well, to tune subsequent models.

Relevant links

Current Projects

Tom Court

Previous projects


A Fortran library for creating histograms from Monte Carlo events for comparison with data from real HEP experiments.

For a brief description of the problem that HzTool was invented to solve, see the original HzTool paper linked from the HzTool home page, and the JetWeb paper linked from the JetWeb home page. (JetWeb is a web interface that uses HzTool to compare different models with data from HEP experiments, and contains a database of data and predictions.)

Fortran 77

HzTool is written in the programming language Fortran 77 so you will need to become familiar with Fortran in order to understand how the existing HzTool code works and to add your own subroutines.

There are a few books on Fortran in the HEP group library, and you can also look in the UCL Science Library. Try searching the UCL library catalogue.


A Fortran library for creating and processing histograms.


A program for viewing and manipulating HBOOK histograms etc.

Unfortunately the Postscript files generated by PAW have a bug that stops them being printed correctly. I have written a script to fix these files before printing.


This is the operating system installed on the HEP group computers. It is a variant of the Unix family of operating systems.

Asteroids cluster

A small cluster of Linux PCs on the ground floor of the Physics Department. You should be able to use these to access the HEP computers and so run the HzTool programs etc.