The Large Hadron Collider smashes protons into each other at the highest energies humanity has ever engineered. Protons are a very convenient type of particle for our high-energy beams : they are plentiful, and they don’t lose (lots of) energy like electrons do when accelerated around the LHC ring. But they are not fundamental particles: they are made up of a tightly bound collection of smaller particles, and to make the most out of LHC experiments we need to understand both what we do and don’t know about the internal structure of the proton that these objects induce. We encode this through so-called parton density functions, or PDFs.
The LHAPDF C++ library, wrapped with a Python interface, is the LHC’s standard system for supplying PDF data to both experiments and theory calculations. Over 1000 sets of PDF fits are available in the LHAPDF data collection.
This project will build on the LHAPDF test suite to report the current status of PDF data files and validation, and allow online exploration, comparison and plotting of PDF functions.