The Board of the NWO Domain Science has awarded sixteen applications in the Open Competition Domain Science - KLEIN. Two of the awarded grants involve UvA-IoP physicists. Michael Walter received a grant for his project on 'taming tensors', while Wouter Verkerke together with Juan Rojo (VU) received a grant for 'fingerprinting the Higgs sector'.
KLEIN grants are intended for innovative, high-quality, fundamental research and/or studies involving matters of scientific urgency. The KLEIN grant enables researchers to formulate and test creative, more speculative ideas and to realize scientific innovations that can serve as a basis for the research themes of the future.
Intuition tells us that it should be easier to scramble a solved Rubik’s cube than to solve a scrambled one. Computer scientists recently discovered tantalizing evidence that, for a broad and important class of puzzles with continuous symmetries, that intuition may well be mistaken!
In his project, Michael Walter (UvA-IoP/KdVI) will develop novel algorithms for solving such puzzles much more efficiently than was previously thought possible. This has important applications for ‘tensors’ (large arrays of high-dimensional data that are ubiquitous in machine learning and quantum computing, but which are notoriously difficult to work with), and promises to shed new light on fundamental questions about the speed limits of computation.
The Higgs boson is the most remarkable elementary particle ever discovered. It is the only particle that interreacts with anything that has mass, and is the mediator of a completely new type of fundamental force. Fingerprinting the Higgs particle to the highest possible degree of accuracy holds great promise, in terms of discovering the effects of new particles and interactions beyond the Standard Model.
In this project, Wouter Verkerke (UvA-IoP/Nikhef) and Juan Rojo (VU) will employ the powerful mathematical framework of Effective Theories to build an extensive interpretation of Higgs measurements from the Large Hadron Collider. They will efficiently develop a range of theories to extend the Standard Model and address its shortcomings.