A fully-funded Ph.D. position is available within the Department of Communications and Computer Engineering in the Faculty of ICT, in collaboration with CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. The total funding available is approximately €138,000 over a period of 3 years.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN is the world’s biggest and highest energy particle accelerator. It collides beams of protons or heavy ions to study the fundamental elements of matter and our Universe. The LHC needs a robust machine protection system, made up of beam collimators, to ensure that beam losses during normal operation are absorbed before they can reach the superconducting magnets. The LHC collimation system is made up of over 100 double-sided collimators, each with a length of approximately 1 metre, which can be controlled using stepper motors with a 5 micrometre step size.
The LHC collimation system is currently being upgraded to include movable bent silicon crystals, which can channel and deflect particles away from the main beam into dedicated absorbers. This will improve the collimation cleaning efficiency even further. The crystals will need to be positioned with micrometre accuracy with respect to the beam, and also with microradian accuracy in terms of its angle. This will require a feedback from beam losses and beam positions throughout the LHC operational cycle.
The selected candidate will be working in conjunction with the Beams department at CERN to develop algorithms to optimize and automate the alignment of the crystal collimation system. The use of machine learning techniques, such as Reinforcement Learning will be explored within this Ph.D. The ideal candidate would be in possession of a knowledge of Python or C/C++, have an aptitude for control systems and be willing to explore applications of reinforcement learning in control systems.
This is a unique opportunity to conduct ground-breaking research at CERN in collaboration with top-notch scientists and to develop an operational system for the Large Hadron Collider.