Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Supercomputers help explain why there is almost no anti-matter in our universe

Date:
March 29, 2012
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Powerful supercomputers have shed light on the behavior of key sub-atomic particles, in a development that could help explain why there is almost no anti-matter in our universe. Physicists have reported a landmark calculation of the decay of an elementary particle called a kaon, using breakthrough techniques on some of the world's fastest supercomputers. This revealed the first experimental evidence of a phenomenon known as charge-parity (CP) violation - a lack of symmetry between particles and their corresponding antiparticles that may explain why the Universe is made of matter, and not antimatter.

Powerful supercomputers have shed light on the behaviour of key sub-atomic particles, in a development that could help explain why there is almost no anti-matter in the universe.

An international collaboration of scientists, including physicists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Southampton, has reported a landmark calculation of the decay of an elementary particle called a kaon, using breakthrough techniques on some of the world's fastest supercomputers.

The calculation took 54 million processor hours on the IBM BlueGene/P supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Class Facility (ALCF) at Argonne National Laboratory in the US.

The new research, reported in the March 30 issue of Physical Review Letters, represents an important milestone in understanding kaon decays -- which are a fundamental process in physics. It is also inspiring the development of a new generation of supercomputers that will allow the next step in this research.

"It has taken several decades of theoretical developments and the arrival of very powerful supercomputers to enable physicists to control the interactions of the quarks and gluons, the constituents of the elementary particles, with sufficient precision to explore the limits of the standard model and to test new theories," says Chris Sachrajda, Professor of Physics at the University of Southampton, one of the members of the research team publishing the new findings. "The present calculation focuses on the fundamental question of how we arrived at a universe composed almost exclusively of matter with virtually no antimatter, but the theoretical and computational techniques of Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics (see below) will also be central to unravelling the underlying framework behind the discoveries anticipated at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN."

The process by which a kaon decays into two lighter particles known as pions was explored in a 1964 Nobel Prize-winning experiment. This revealed the first experimental evidence of a phenomenon known as charge-parity (CP) violation -- a lack of symmetry between particles and their corresponding antiparticles that may explain why the Universe is made of matter, and not antimatter.

When kaons decay into lighter pions, the constituent sub-particles known as quarks undergo changes brought about by weak forces that operate at such a small scale. As the quarks move away, they exchange gluons -- particles that cause the quarks to bind into the pions.

The computations are performed using the techniques of lattice quantum chromodyamics (QCD -- the theory that describes fundamental quark-gluon interactions), in which the decay is inputted into a computer as a finite grid of space-time points. The problem of calculating the decay rate can be reduced to a statistical method, called the Monte Carlo method. The present calculation extends the range of lattice QCD calculations to a new class of process, weak decays with two strongly interacting particles in the final state.

Whilst the calculation reported here has determined fundamental quantities necessary for an understanding of the matter-antimatter asymmetry, it also marks the beginning of the next phase of the collaboration's work. This will involve improving the precision of the computations and extending the range of physical quantities for which the effects of the strong nuclear force can be quantified.

Comparing experimental measurements of rare processes with the predictions of the standard model is a powerful tool to search for signatures of new physics and in discriminating between proposed theories. Lattice QCD will be a central tool in these studies, but in most cases even more computing power is required.

Dr Peter Boyle of the University of Edinburgh, who co-authored the paper, said: "Fortunately the next generation of IBM supercomputers is being installed over the next few months in many research centres around the world, including the Blue-Gene/Q at Edinburgh, part of the DiRAC (Distributed Research utilising Advanced Computing) facility of which both the Edinburgh and Southampton groups are members, as well as at ALCF, the KEK laboratory in Japan, the Brookhaven National Lab and the Riken Brookhaven Research Center (RBRC) in the US."

These new IBM BlueGene/Q machines are expected to have 10 to 20 times the performance of the current machines, Dr Boyle explains: "With this dramatic boost in computing power we can get a more accurate and complete version of the present calculation, and other important details will come within reach. This is a nice synergy between science and the computer -- the science pushing computer developments and the advanced computers pushing science forward, to the benefit of the science community and also the commercial world."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Supercomputers help explain why there is almost no anti-matter in our universe." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120329101623.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2012, March 29). Supercomputers help explain why there is almost no anti-matter in our universe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120329101623.htm
University of Southampton. "Supercomputers help explain why there is almost no anti-matter in our universe." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120329101623.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
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:

More Coverage


Why Are We Made of Matter? Supercomputing the Difference Between Matter and Antimatter

Mar. 29, 2012 Using breakthrough techniques on some of the world's fastest supercomputers -- scientists have reported a landmark calculation of a kind of subatomic particle decay that's important to ... read more
from the past week

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