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Supercomputing the Strange Difference Between Matter and Antimatter

Brookhaven National Laboratory (11/20/15)

An international group of physicists including researchers from the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) has published the first calculation of direct “CP” symmetry violation, and if the prediction represented by this calculation does not match experimental outcomes, it would conclusively prove the existence of new, unknown phenomena that lie outside of the Standard Model. The calculation was performed on the Blue Gene/Q supercomputers at the RIKEN BNL Research Center (RBRC). Scientists anticipate dramatic improvement in the precision of the calculation now that they have demonstrated they can manage the task. The final part of the calculation needed more than 200 million core processing hours on supercomputers, “and would have required two thousand years using a laptop,” according to BNL’s Taku Izubuchi. The goal of the current calculation is a highly elusive phenomenon: a one-part-in-a-million difference between matter and antimatter decay probabilities. The Standard Model successfully relates matter-antimatter asymmetries observed in earlier experiments, but the Standard-Model asymmetry cannot explain the existing preponderance of matter over antimatter in the universe. “The approximate agreement between this new calculation and the 2000 experimental results suggests that we need to look harder, which is exactly what the team performing this calculation plans to do,” says RBRC’s Christopher Kelly.

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