CERN Accelerating science

Piter as a Summer Student at CERN, from Hits to Tracks in 4 dimensions.

Be a Summer Student is Supercalifragilisticoespialidoso

by Piter Amador Paye Mamani

I am from La Paz-Bolivia, specifically, from the Hight University Mayor de San Andres, where Professors and Students are using the traditional School, Books, Material and Inspiration of the remote times of the most famous conference of Physics, the Fifth Solvay International Conference. Basically, our life is only Physics. All the days with papers and pen, books in the hands, poster of Dirac, Schrodinger, and more on the walls.

When I’ve applied to Summer Student Program all my Professors and me did not have faith, because is a Prestigious Summer School of the World, and only assist Genius, and we do not have a Computer Center to prepare me properly with computational tools. On another side, the economic help was poor. The chances to be selected was similar to deposit your love to a girl. A lot of uncertainty. However, when I got the mail that I was selected my heart bloomed. I was ecstatic. Then, all professors send me with an objective. You have to show them that the students of Bolivia are competent and we only need a Computer Center to show our capacities to the world. A lot of responsibility on my shoulders. Immediately I contacted to my supervisor Mark Richard Williams to study the necessary background for my project. This was the first hit that I had to connect to grow up in my academic formation.

My Work at CERN from hit to tracks, the second hit.

In a clear sense I had to construct (with the help of algorithms) the tracks of particles on the VELO detector using timing information. A lot of algorithms was already done; however, they are not implemented on python and they not have the time information. To understand the time and its implementation, both in research and in my life, I have to reconstruct a lot of gaussian graphics and the simple answer was it is like another special coordinate; It's what we learn on our Special Relativity Course. I’m trying to be organized in space with my proper things, but be organized in time is a real challenge.

The problem basically is to group the information of hits (integer numbers) into different sets that represent the tracks (collection of integer numbers). This process is easy when the data are few, however, is complicated when the data is increased in a 90% factor. The real problem arises due to there are shared hits. It means that we could have a track that shared its hit with another track. Time information help us into separation of this kind of hits. Because, it is very obvious when a particle is traveling on a specific time interval which is different on another particle whose time interval is located previously or subsequently. On another side, the search by triplet algorithm (which I used) already helps to identify the shared through the underlaying algorithm.

A lot of issues I had to solve when I was working on my project. For example, pass from Python to ROOT, from ROOT to Python, from Python to PANDAS, from PANDAS to tracks, all this using the amazing LXPLUS server and JUPYTER. And I have to recognize that debugging my code was an incredible homework. Because the only problem in Computer Science is naming variables. This was the second hit, it is possible dream with beautiful results but you need to land to the reality.  

The LHCb Group is Beauty, the third hit was shared.

It was a casualty that I arrive to an incredible Office where you have a lot of condition to develop your work, research, and to study a lot, a lot of computers, a lot of people thinking, and so on. My office was great and funny, I found really great friends for life. Zeff, Jeff, Mustafa, Colm, Yara, Mario, Alessandro, Nicole. It was a moment of my life where I could find friends with whom you can share knowledge, dreams, experience, and strange feelings. I think when we will be old you will think that Piter was crazy at CERN. The life is not only Physics, the life is Physics plus to share, to learn, to feel.

My Stay at CERN, a last hit

The environment at CERN is very stimulating. Meetings happening here and there. People speaking about physics, mathematics and programming. Offices with a lot of computers and a great and incredible library very close to you. Experts and specialist discussing the frontiers of physics and knowledge. Pictures of great subjects on the walls. The architecture is designed to be enjoyed by motivated people. Workshops during all the day.

After a period of thought I have concluded that the only differences between students that come of great universities and low universities are the conditions and opportunities. If you are reading this and If you are a student that come from a slow university, please, I suggest you do not forget the CERN Code of Conduct by Fabiola Giannotti. It is very important.

To be on love of physics and a girl (a summer student of my office) is complicated, choose a correct decision for now is Physics and to construct a great career. I will go to the party approximately in 10 years. I hope to see you.

Come back to Bolivia, finally the track and a new hit to reconstruct

When I come back to Bolivia, I’ve had a lot of interviews even in the radio, all of them asking me how was the students, the people, the experiments, the computer centers, and how is the world. And the most important was what do you really learn in your stay at CERN. My answer was that we need only a little bit of love. Love to Physics, to work, to books, to friends, to professors, to you, to your country, to your University, and love to her. But never you have to play with this. It is dangerous, you can lose the passion to Physics, or in another side you can lost really friends, or you can lose your love.

I want to go to the Perimeter. The dream of to be theoretical Physicist.

A lot of thanks to shared frontiers of knowledge with me. A lot of thanks to Professors of prestigious universities. Thanks a lot, by the Class of Theoretical Concepts in Particle Physics to Andre Cohen. A lot of thanks to Mark to teach me Machine Learning and Pattern recognition. It is a useful tool to solve the ancient N-Body problem. A lot of thanks to CERN to teach me that the future of Physics is Computational. It is a useful tool to solve the ancient problem of N-Body problem. I will go to the Perimeter Institute of theoretical Physics, but for now, I am studying deeply Machine Learning to apply to the problem of N-Body’s.


A great massive thanks to people that has trusted of me at time to be selected, to the Summer Student Team by the Program Organization (it was excellent). To CERN hostel by your special attention.

A massive thank you to everyone who helped me at difficult times, including my friends and receptionists. Thanks to Shantam Taneja, Jhon Leslie Cobbledick,Daniel Campora, taking the time to explain topics and giving me helpful advice for pursuing my research.

Thanks to Mark Richard Williams to explain me the importance of results independent of Prizes and obviously by share your knowledge in the area, Daniel Campora to clarify all details in my mother language, to Shantam Taneja and Jhon Leslie Cobbledick, taking the time to explain me topics and giving me helpful advice for pursuing my research. A special thanks to Luis Perez to show me that another world is possible if you take mature decisions, and to Zeff and Nicole to show me that it is possible to have a weekend if we work with discipline in time.  Finally, thank you, CERN, incredibly my life has changed.