Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Liverpool Scientists Help To Solve The Mysteries Of Quarks

Date:
June 18, 2005
Source:
University Of Liverpool
Summary:
Particle physicists are embarking on a new attempt to solve the mysteries of quarks with the completion of the three most powerful supercomputers ever applied to this problem, including one in Edinburgh which scientists at the University of Liverpool helped to design and build.

The proton consists of three quarks, two up and one down, living in a complicated soup of dynamical quarks, antiquarks and gluons, which have colour charges.
Credit: Image courtesy of University Of Liverpool

Particle physicists are embarking on a new attempt to solve the mysteries of quarks with the completion of the three most powerful supercomputers ever applied to this problem, including one in Edinburgh which scientists at the University of Liverpool helped to design and build.

Related Articles


Quarks are the fundamental particles that make up 99.9% of ordinary matter; yet it is impossible to examine a single quark in the laboratory. Consequently, some of the basic properties of quarks are not known, such as their precise masses or why they exist in six different types.

Quarks are bound together by the Strong Force, which is weak when the quarks are close, but increases steadily as you try to separate them, making it impossible to isolate a single quark. Instead, the theory describing the Strong Force, called Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), has to be simulated on huge computers.

The Edinburgh computer is the first of three similar machines and has been operating since January 2005. Liverpool hosts a 10 Terabyte data grid node as part of the project and was responsible for coordination of the UKQCD physics software effort by means of a PPARC funded Software Manager and a physicist programmer.

Professor Alan Irving, Head of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Liverpool, and a member of the UK's Programme Management Committee for the project, said: "The successful inauguration of this computer shows what can be achieved when the imagination and commitment of pure scientists is combined with industrial capability and backed by a risk-taking Research Council. The next part of the project, the physics exploitation, promises to be even more exciting than the first."

The second computer is being inaugurated today at the RIKEN Brookhaven Research Center in Brookhaven National Laboratory in the USA. The third is part of the U.S. Department of Energy Program in High Energy and Nuclear Physics, and is also installed at Brookhaven where it is currently undergoing testing.

The computers are built with processing chips specifically designed for the purpose, known as QCD-on-a-chip, or QCDOC for short. A little slower than the microprocessor in a laptop, the QCDOC chip was designed to consume a tenth of the electrical power, so that tens of thousands of them could be put into a single machine.

Each QCDOC machine operates at a speed of 10 Teraflops, or 10 trillion (i.e. million million) floating point operations per second. By comparison, a regular desktop computer operates at a few Gigaflops (a thousand million floating point operations per second), whilst IBM's BlueGene, a close relative of QCDOC and the fastest computer in the world, operates at over 100 Teraflops. Edinburgh's machine and part of the QCDOC development costs were funded through a Joint Infrastructure Fund Award of 6.6million administered by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, who also fund the UK scientists in this field.

The Mysteries of Quarks

  • Quarks never appear singly, but always as bound states of two or more, called hadrons, such as the protons and neutrons that make up the atomic nucleus. Thus, Nature hides its fundamental particles and we would like to understand better how the Strong Force achieves this.
  • Only the mass of the top quark is accurately known, because QCD effects are small for such a heavy particle. To determine the masses of the lighter quarks accurately (called up, down, strange, charm and bottom), QCD effects have to be computed. These masses are needed for detailed understanding of many phenomena and should eventually be predicted by the much sought after Theory of Everything.
  • There are six types of quark and this seems to be related to the small difference between matter and antimatter, called CP violation, that may help to explain why our Universe is dominated by matter (and hence why we can exist at all). QCD simulations are needed to discover whether our current theories can explain this, or there is some new physics at work.
  • The Theory of Everything is very likely to permit protons to decay. If so, the proton lifetime must be enormous, since no decay has yet been observed. Experimental lower bounds on the lifetime, together with QCD simulations, place restrictions on what the Theory of Everything can be and have already ruled out some candidates.
  • At enormously high temperatures and densities, such as may be found in neutron stars, everyday matter made of bound quarks may melt into a new type of matter. This change of phase, which is being searched for at Brookhaven National Laboratory by colliding gold and lead nuclei at high energies, is accessible to QCD simulations. What happens may tell us about what is going on inside some of the most exotic objects in the Universe.

The UKQCD Collaboration

UKQCD is a collaboration of particle physicists from the Universities of Edinburgh, Southampton, Swansea, Liverpool, Glasgow, Oxford and Cambridge. It was formed in 1989 and has exploited a series of novel architecture computers for QCD simulations, becoming one of the leading projects in this field world wide. QCDOC gives UKQCD for the first time the fastest computer in the world available for QCD simulations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Liverpool. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Liverpool. "Liverpool Scientists Help To Solve The Mysteries Of Quarks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050607011135.htm>.
University Of Liverpool. (2005, June 18). Liverpool Scientists Help To Solve The Mysteries Of Quarks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050607011135.htm
University Of Liverpool. "Liverpool Scientists Help To Solve The Mysteries Of Quarks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050607011135.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins