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Statistical Patterns of Theory Uncertainties

by Aishik Ghosh, Benjamin Nachman, Tilman Plehn, Lily Shire, Tim M. P. Tait, Daniel Whiteson

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Submission summary

Authors (as registered SciPost users): Aishik Ghosh · Tilman Plehn · Tim Tait
Submission information
Preprint Link:  (pdf)
Date accepted: 2023-05-22
Date submitted: 2023-05-08 21:11
Submitted by: Ghosh, Aishik
Submitted to: SciPost Physics Core
Ontological classification
Academic field: Physics
  • High-Energy Physics - Phenomenology


A comprehensive uncertainty estimation is vital for the precision program of the LHC. While experimental uncertainties are often described by stochastic processes and well-defined nuisance parameters, theoretical uncertainties lack such a description. We study uncertainty estimates for cross-section predictions based on scale variations across a large set of processes. We find patterns similar to a stochastic origin, with accurate uncertainties for processes mediated by the strong force, but a systematic underestimate for electroweak processes. We propose an improved scheme, based on the scale variation of reference processes, which reduces outliers in the mapping from leading order to next-to-leading-order in perturbation theory.

List of changes

- Added context for central scale in Sec2: “The choice of the central scale can vary depending on the physics process, it could be for example the scalar sum of transverse mass of all final state particles, the invariant mass of the system being produced, the average transverse energy of jets produced, or centre-of-mass energy of the collider.”

- Updated outlook section with scope and context of our work: “... shows a very significant improvement over the current scheme for the reasonably inclusive processes that we have considered at a $pp collider with $\sqrt{s} \sim 14$~TeV.”

- Updated conclusion to highlight relevant followup studies: “Moreover, our reference process method is studied only for inclusive cross-sections and further studies are needed at the differential distributions in relevant observables.”

- Also added to conclusion more comments on scope of our work and potential follow up studies: “Differential cross-sections often contain multiple energy scales and it would be interesting to test whether the proposed method would continue to be useful for them. In addition, it would need to be tested with regard to higher orders in perturbation theory.”

Published as SciPost Phys. Core 6, 045 (2023)

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