An international team of scientists has, for the first time, simulated the decay process of a kaon into two pions with extreme precision. The calculation took 54 million processor hours on the IBM BlueGene/P supercomputer at the Argonne National Lab and will help researchers explain why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.
In the simulation, a technique known as lattice quantum chromodyamics (QCD) is used to carry out the computation. The parameters of the decay are input into a computer as a finite grid or lattice of space–time points. “Using lattice QCD was tricky, as the lattice box has a finite size and this means that the quarks cannot separate infinitely,” says Sachrajda. He goes on to explain that the process the researchers considered involved the kaon decaying into two mesons with isospin 2 (a quantum number related to the strong interaction). “This isospin has a real and imaginary part – the real part has been predicted and experimentally verified, and our value was in good agreement with that. The imaginary part, on the other hand, is not known from experiment. This is the first time it has been experimentally determined,” explains Sachrajda.
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