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Workshop: NeurIPS 2023 Workshop: Machine Learning and the Physical Sciences

Differentiable Simulation of a Liquid Argon TPC for High-Dimensional Calibration

Pierre Granger


Liquid argon time projection chambers (LArTPCs) are widely used in particle detection for their tracking and calorimetric capabilities. The particle physics community actively builds and improves high-quality simulators for such detectors in order to develop physics analyses in a realistic setting. The fidelity of these simulators relative to real, measured data is limited by the modeling of the physical detectors used for data collection. This modeling can be improved by performing dedicated calibration measurements. Conventional approaches calibrate individual detector parameters or processes one at a time. However, the impact of detector processes is entangled, making this a poor description of the underlying physics. We introduce a differentiable simulator that enables a gradient-based optimization, allowing for the first time a simultaneous calibration of all detector parameters. We describe the procedure of making a differentiable simulator, highlighting the challenges of retaining the physics quality of the standard, non-differentiable version while providing meaningful gradient information. We further discuss the advantages and drawbacks of using our differentiable simulator for calibration.Finally, we discuss extensions to our approach, including applications of the differentiable simulator to physics analysis pipelines.

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