Research

Theory and Phenomenology

My principal research training is as a theoretical particle physicist, having studied under Dimitri V. Nanopoulos, a distinguished professor at Texas A&M University. I have done work in the subject of Grand Unified Theories (GUTs), particularly the Flipped SU(5) GUT. My research straddles the line between theory and phenomenology, spanning topics as diverse as string model building (in the free fermionic and intersecting D-brane constructions) and the simulation of collider-level supersymmetry signatures at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The integration of large scale computing is a persistent element across all of my research.

Recently, I have collaborated with Dimitri Nanopoulos' research group at Texas A&M to co-author (joined also by our colleagues Tianjun Li and James Maxin) a series of papers describing the properties of a model which we have named F-SU(5). This model represents a highly phenomenologically favorable combination of the Flipped SU(5) GUT with a pair of exotic TeV scale vector-like field multiplets having origins in F-theory model building, and the dynamically established boundary conditions of no-scale supergravity. In particular, our model has a very direct connection to experiments studying dark matter, proton decay, and rare processes such as flavor-changing neutral current transitions and contributions to the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon. Moreover, it makes very specific predictions for observations at the LHC, including a Higgs around 125 GeV, the manifestation of supersymmetry in ultra-high jet multiplicity (at least 9 jets) events, and possibly even direct detection of the hypothesized vectorlike multiplets.

Experiment Service

I am fortunate though to have not one, but two simultaneously active research collaborations. The second is with the group led by high-energy experimentalist Professor David Toback at Texas A&M. This partnership has presented a variety of opportunities to me that are atypical for a physicist trained in theory and phenomenology. In particular, I was given the chance in early 2011 to perform a week of hands on service work in the control room of the (recently decommissioned from collider mode operation) CDF experiment at the Fermilab Tevatron particle accelerator in Batavia, Illinois. Most recently, I have been deeply engaged (along with recent SHSU physics graduates Jacob Hill and Mike Kowalczyk) in the construction of an autonomous web-based monitoring utility designed to report on the health of computing clusters which operate in support of the data analysis agenda of the LHC.

The particle collisions occur within the LHC accelerator with such intensity and frequency that their processing can only be handled by a truly world-wide computing grid of enormous flexibility, speed, and reliability. Texas A&M hosts a "Tier 3" (endline data consumer) site, one of about 45 spread all around the planet. Each is a unique entity, composed of extremely complicated interdependent hardware and software under local management. It is not too surprising that the extraordinary networking and performance requirements on each installation should result in not-so occasional system failures, particularly for up-and-coming sites. Successful operation and optimization of a Tier 3 site thus requires intimately detailed, near real-time feedback on how system components are behaving at a given moment, and how this compares to design goals and historical norms. It is the purpose of our monitor to efficiently provide this essential information in a comprehensive, unified, and streamlined format which is specialized for a single site view, and available immediately upon request. You can download a summary presentation on this monitoring project here .

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