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  1. We describe the outcome of a data challenge conducted as part of the Dark Machines (https://www.darkmachines.org) initiative and the Les Houches 2019 workshop on Physics at TeV colliders. The challenged aims to detect signals of new physics at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) using unsupervised machine learning algorithms. First, we propose how an anomaly score could be implemented to define model-independent signal regions in LHC searches. We define and describe a large benchmark dataset, consisting of >1 billion simulated LHC events corresponding to 10\, fb^{-1} 10 f b − 1 of proton-proton collisions at a center-of-mass energy of 13 TeV.more »We then review a wide range of anomaly detection and density estimation algorithms, developed in the context of the data challenge, and we measure their performance in a set of realistic analysis environments. We draw a number of useful conclusions that will aid the development of unsupervised new physics searches during the third run of the LHC, and provide our benchmark dataset for future studies at https://www.phenoMLdata.org. Code to reproduce the analysis is provided at https://github.com/bostdiek/DarkMachines-UnsupervisedChallenge.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  2. Abstract

    Particles beyond the Standard Model (SM) can generically have lifetimes that are long compared to SM particles at the weak scale. When produced at experiments such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, these long-lived particles (LLPs) can decay far from the interaction vertex of the primary proton–proton collision. Such LLP signatures are distinct from those of promptly decaying particles that are targeted by the majority of searches for new physics at the LHC, often requiring customized techniques to identify, for example, significantly displaced decay vertices, tracks with atypical properties, and short track segments. Given their non-standard nature,more »a comprehensive overview of LLP signatures at the LHC is beneficial to ensure that possible avenues of the discovery of new physics are not overlooked. Here we report on the joint work of a community of theorists and experimentalists with the ATLAS, CMS, and LHCb experiments—as well as those working on dedicated experiments such as MoEDAL, milliQan, MATHUSLA, CODEX-b, and FASER—to survey the current state of LLP searches at the LHC, and to chart a path for the development of LLP searches into the future, both in the upcoming Run 3 and at the high-luminosity LHC. The work is organized around the current and future potential capabilities of LHC experiments to generally discover new LLPs, and takes a signature-based approach to surveying classes of models that give rise to LLPs rather than emphasizing any particular theory motivation. We develop a set of simplified models; assess the coverage of current searches; document known, often unexpected backgrounds; explore the capabilities of proposed detector upgrades; provide recommendations for the presentation of search results; and look towards the newest frontiers, namely high-multiplicity ‘dark showers’, highlighting opportunities for expanding the LHC reach for these signals.

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