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Walter Howard Hopkins


My research focuses on searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model.


My research focuses on searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model. Specifically, my work involves searching for evidence of a new symmetry in nature: Supersymmetry (SUSY). SUSY not only solves a problem known as the hierarchy problem, which involves the SM failing to predict precision corrections to the Higgs mass, but also proposes a dark matter candidate. I’m involved in a search for SUSY particle production with the ATLAS detector/collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland.

The most recent search (for the SUSY top quark partner in the all-hadronic decay channel) I worked on was done with 36 fb-1 of Run 2 data at a center-of-mass energy of 13 TeV and is described here.

More complex analysis methods, such as (deep) machine learning techniques (e.g. for top quark identification), will become invaluable to our discovery potential to new physics as we move away from the large center-of-mass energy increases of Run 1 and 2 to the high luminosity era. I’m working on applying state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to enhance the sensitivity of ATLAS to new physics. 

I’m also involved in working with the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility to prepare the ATLAS software for use on High Performance Computing machines such as Theta and future machines such as A21. Current projects include adapting Monte Carlo simulators for use on these machines and improving detector simulations to better model data.