Methods for the Improvement of High Energy Cosmic Ray Shower Simulations
Johnathan Harper with Corbin Covault
Exotic forms of matter such as Quark Gluon Plasma and Dark Matter are difficult to detect. Before attempting to directly observe evidence of them in cosmic ray showers, it is advantageous to ﬁrst perform simulations of such particle data using the program CORSIKA. Accurate shower simulations where exotic matter may form require precise input parame-ters and must be performed at high energy. Since the number of interactions and resulting particles scales with the energy of the shower, simulations where exotic matter may form are difficult, time consuming and computationally onerous to perform.
For this project we address some of the underlying complications associated with the detection of exotic matter in CORSIKA simulations. First, the height of ﬁrst interaction, an important input parameter for accurate simulations, will be calculated for several high-energy showers of varying types. Secondly, for showers of high energy, a method of thinning the shower is often applied. This algorithm reduces the computational complexity of a shower by combining many lower energy particles into a single particle of a higher energy. While this can drastically reduce run time, it comes at the cost of accuracy. This project will attempt to understand the effects of a potential unthinning procedure, which may increase the quality of detected particle data when thinning is applied. It is found that the unthinning procedure works reasonably well. Future improvements to this algorithm may allow thinning to be used to simulate high-energy showers resulting from collisions containing exotic matter, making it easier to identify such showers in experimental data.