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A comprehensive guide to the physics and usage of PYTHIA 8.3

by Christian Bierlich, Smita Chakraborty, Nishita Desai, Leif Gellersen, Ilkka Helenius, Philip Ilten, Leif Lönnblad, Stephen Mrenna, Stefan Prestel, Christian T. Preuss, Torbjörn Sjöstrand, Peter Skands, Marius Utheim, and Rob Verheyen

Submission summary

Authors (as registered SciPost users): Christian Bierlich · Smita Chakraborty · Leif Gellersen · Ilkka Helenius · Leif Lönnblad · Stephen Mrenna · Rob Verheyen
Submission information
Preprint Link: scipost_202204_00011v1  (pdf)
Code repository:
Date accepted: 2022-08-12
Date submitted: 2022-04-07 13:11
Submitted by: Bierlich, Christian
Submitted to: SciPost Physics Codebases
Ontological classification
Academic field: Physics
  • High-Energy Physics - Phenomenology
Approaches: Theoretical, Computational, Phenomenological


This manual describes the P YTHIA 8.3 event generator, the most recent version of an evolving physics tool used to answer fundamental questions in particle physics. The program is most often used to generate high-energy-physics collision “events”, i.e. sets of particles produced in association with the collision of two incoming high-energy particles, but has several uses beyond that. The guiding philosophy is to produce and reproduce properties of experimentally obtained collisions as accurately as possible. The program includes a wide ranges of reactions within and beyond the Standard Model, and extending to heavy ion physics. Emphasis is put on phenomena where strong interactions play a major role. The manual contains both pedagogical and practical components. All included physics models are described in enough detail to allow the user to obtain a cursory overview of used assumptions and approximations, enabling an informed evaluation of the program output. A number of the most central algorithms are described in enough detail that the main results of the program can be reproduced independently, allowing further development of existing models or the addition of new ones. Finally, a chapter dedicated fully to the user is included towards the end, providing pedagogical examples of standard use cases, and a detailed description of a number of external interfaces. The program code, the online manual, and the latest version of this print manual can be found on the PYTHIA web page:

Published as SciPost Phys. Codebases 8 (2022) , SciPost Phys. Codebases 8-r8.3 (2022)

Reports on this Submission

Report 2 by Frank Krauss on 2022-7-8 (Invited Report)

  • Cite as: Frank Krauss, Report on arXiv:scipost_202204_00011v1, delivered 2022-07-08, doi: 10.21468/SciPost.Report.5363


1 - well-written, complete, and concise pedagogical introduction to Pythia 8.3 and its underlying physics;
2 - inclusion of new modules/physics aspects (Dire, Vincia, Angantyr), going beyond the manual so far;
3 - some example code for interacting with Pythia 8.3;
4 - exhaustive list of references, keyword index


- none


This is an extremely well written manual for a central simulation code. I have not seen any weaknesses or omissions and I support speedy publication of the code and the manual in SciPost codebases.

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  • formatting: perfect
  • grammar: excellent

Report 1 by Frank Krauss on 2022-6-30 (Contributed Report)


This is a central tool of particle physics - the code is well-known, with extremely detailed manual and documentation. It needs to be published.

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