The quest to understand the fundamental building blocks of nature and their interactions is one of the oldest and most ambitious of human scientific endeavors. Facilities such as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) represent a huge step forward in this quest. The discovery of the Higgs boson, the observation of exceedingly rare decays of B mesons, and stringent constraints on many viable theories of physics beyond the Standard Model demonstrate the great scientific value of the LHC physics program. The next phase of this global scientific project will be the High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) which will collect data starting circa 2026 and continue into the 2030’s. The primary science goal is to search for physics beyond the Standard Model and, should it be discovered, to study its details and implications. During the HL-LHC era, the ATLAS and CMS experiments will record ~10 times as much data from ~100 times as many collisions as were used to discover the Higgs boson (and at twice the energy).
The Institute for Research and Innovation in Software for High Energy Physics (IRIS-HEP) has been established to meet the software and computing challenges of the HL-LHC, through R&D for the software for acquiring, managing, processing and analyzing HL-LHC data. IRIS-HEP will address key elements of the “Roadmap for HEP Software and Computing R&D for the 2020s” and will implement the “Strategic Plan for a Scientific Software Innovation Institute (S2I2) for High Energy Physics” submitted to the NSF in December 2017. These two documents represent, respectively, the outcome of international and U.S. HEP community planning processes; these were driven in part by the NSF-funded S2I2-HEP Institute Conceptualization Project.
IRIS-HEP will serve as an active center for software R&D, function as an intellectual hub for the larger community-wide software R&D efforts, and transform the operational services required to ensure the success of the HL-LHC scientific program. Three high-impact R&D areas will leverage the talents of the U.S. university community:
- development of innovative algorithms for data reconstruction and triggering;
- development of highly performant analysis systems that reduce `time-to-insight’ and maximize the HL-LHC physics potential; and
- development of data organization, management and access systems for the community’s upcoming Exabyte era.
As an intellectual hub, IRIS-HEP will lead efforts to:
- grow research collaborations between HEP and the Cyberinfrastructure, Data Science and Computer Science communities for novel approaches to the compelling HL-LHC challenges,
- bring in new effort from U.S. Universities emphasizing professional development and training, and
- sustain HEP software and underlying knowledge related to the algorithms and their implementations over the two decades required.
IRIS-HEP will also sustain investments in distributed high-throughput computing (DHTC) for the LHC through the Open Science Grid and build an integration path (the Scalable Systems Laboratory) to deliver its R&D activities into the distributed and scientific production infrastructures.
HEP is a global, complex, scientific endeavor. These activities will help ensure that the software developed and deployed by a globally distributed community will extend the science reach of the HL-LHC and will be sustained over its lifetime. It will also advance other HL-LHC era HEP experiments. The plan for IRIS-HEP reflects a community vision. Developing, deploying, and maintaining sustainable software for the HL-LHC experiments has tremendous technical and social challenges. In addition to enabling the best possible HL-LHC science, IRIS-HEP aims to bring together the larger cyberinfrastructure and HEP communities to address the complex issues at the intersection of Exascale high-throughput computing and Exabyte-scale datasets in big science.