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Strong Interaction Supercomputing Training Network

Final Report Summary - STRONGNET (Strong Interaction Supercomputing Training Network)

In STRONGnet a total of 28 Early-Stage and 4 Experienced Researchers received transnational research training accross 10 academic teams, in coordination and collaboration with industry partners that represented typical employers of our graduates. 8 schools and conferences were organized. The scientific aim was to solve problems of strongly interacting quantum field theories, in particular quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interactions, by means of computer simulation.

Strong interactions play a key role in the formation of matter, with a rich phenomenology. Large existing and planned accelerator facilities in Europe and beyond are designed to unravel the many facets experimentally and these programmes require theoretical predictions. A coherent effort of solving QCD also drives the understanding of the foundations of matter. Due to the non-linear and strongly coupled nature of QCD, this cannot be achieved by analytical calculations alone. Instead, the system is simulated on supercomputers (Lattice QCD). The results of this research are impressive, with over 500 STRONGnet-related scientific publications.

To pursue the proposed fundamental research with applications to particle physics phenomenological and quantum field theory, also new methods and tools needed to be developed, in particular ultrafast efficient numerical algorithms. Substantial progress was achieved in collaboration between theoretical physicists and applied mathematicians. New discretization schemes were introduced, Markov Monte Carlo algorithms and linear system solvers as well as all-to-all techniques tremendously improved upon etc.. Some similar methods are also relevant in other research areas, e.g. in the analysis of seismic data in oil exploration or in quantitative finance and risk management.

Finally, massively parallel high performance computers with fast communication networks were necessary for the simulations that often cannot be factorized into smaller problems. In this context, Regensburg and Wuppertal, together with the industry partners IBM and Eurotech developed the QPACE supercomputer that for one year was the world's most energy efficient supercomputer. Other installations were Aurora and idataCool, with QPACE-II in development while the Edinburgh team contributed to the development of IBM's BlueGene/Q.

Trained researchers with expertise in quantum field theory, particle physics phenomenology, numerical algorithms and/or software and hardware development skills are in demand, within our research area and elsewhere: similar analytical and problem solving skills are essential in many research areas, in academia and industry. Equiped With the training and contacts provided through the network. Many non-network funded students and postdoctoral researchers also benefited significantly from the infrastructure, training and networking provided.