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Seth Zenz | Imperial College London | UK

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Lost in Acronym Translation

My first impression, once I got myself properly into the CMS databases and joined the requisite forty or so mailing lists, was that CMS has a lot more acronyms than I was used to. Particularly jarring were the mysterious PVT (“Physics Validation Team”) meetings, and the many occurrences of “PU” (“pileup“) always looked to me like “Princeton University” until I realized that made no sense in context.

But then I remembered all the acronyms on ATLAS, and learned that “PU” has gotten more common there too now that the increasing pileup is a frequent subject of discussion. (I really wasn’t paying attention generally to either ATLAS or CMS for the year where I did my analysis and wrote my thesis.) So although the culture of acronym use may be a bit different, it’s really just a matter of translating from one experiment’s terms to another.

For example, I recently learned that a JSON (“JavaScript something something”) file indicates which LumiSections (not an acronym, oddly) are good in a set of runs — in other words, for which times are the recorded data for all parts of CMS in good shape? On ATLAS, it would have been a GRL (“good run list”) indicating which LumiBlocks were good.

I still think that acronyms are thrown around in conversation a bit more on CMS than on ATLAS. Fortunately, there is a public list of CMS acronyms to help me. I’m sure I’ll figure them out eventually.

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