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SDSC, UC San Diego Physicist Receives 2024 Henry Primakoff Award

Published October 26, 2023

Javier Duarte, affiliate researcher at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and assistant professor in the Department of Physics at UC San Diego.

By Cynthia Dillon, SDSC Communications

Javier Duarte, affiliate researcher at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and assistant professor in the Department of Physics at UC San Diego, has received the 2024 Henry Primakoff Award for Early-Career Particle Physics. His experimental work involving artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), as well as his contributions to advances in Higgs physics studies at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN earned him the American Physical Society (APS) award.

“For accelerating trigger technologies in experimental particle physics with novel real-time approaches by embedding artificial intelligence and machine learning in programmable gate arrays, and for critical advances in Higgs physics studies at the Large Hadron Collider in all hadronic final states,” were among the reasons cited by APS President Robert Rosner in a recent letter announcing Duarte’s selection as the award recipient.

The APS announcement online notes Duarte’s leadership of a research group that develops AI and ML techniques for high-energy particle collisions to better measure the properties and interactions of elementary particles, like the Higgs boson, and search for new physics. Additional award-worthy work includes the physicist’s building of tools for accelerating and deploying ML algorithms in fast electronics widely used in particle physics and beyond. On CMS, Duarte conducts measurements of highly energetic single and double Higgs boson production in hadronic final states, searches for long-lived particles and co-leads the Machine Learning Group. 

For SDSC, Duarte is a co-PI on the Voyager project, an innovative compute resource supported by the NSF that emphasizes deep engagement with the AI research community and features specialized hardware and software. Additionally, Duarte serves as PI and as UC San Diego’s  board representative for the Accelerated AI Algorithms for Data-Driven Discovery (A3D3) Institute, a $15 million Harnessing the Data Revolution program. Its mission is to incorporate AI algorithms with new processors to support analyses of unprecedented data sets. 

For A3D3, Duarte also serves as the equity and career representative on the executive board and supervises the post-baccalaureate program. SDSC’s Director Frank Würthwein and Amit Majumdar, who leads SDSC’s Data Enabled Scientific Computing Division, also support these efforts. 

“Dr. Duarte is an intellectual leader at the interface of AI/ML, fast electronics and experimental particle physics innovating across all three areas. SDSC is very fortunate to have him as a collaborator on some of our projects,” Würthwein said.

According to Majumdar, Duarte has been a great researcher and collaborator as a part of the Voyager project. “In addition to showing excellent utilization of the Voyager architecture for Machine Learned Particle Flow algorithms, he has involved external collaborators and students, making a significant overall impact for the project,” said Majumdar.

Before joining UC San Diego, Duarte was a Lederman postdoctoral fellow at Fermilab and received his Ph.D. in Physics at Caltech and his S.B. in physics and mathematics at MIT. He received a 2023 Sloan Research Fellowship, 2023 Cottrell Scholar Award, 2022 UC San Diego Inclusive Excellence Award, 2020 DOE Early Career Award, and he is a co-PI of the NSF Institute for Accelerated AI Algorithms for Data-Driven Discovery.

“I am very grateful to my nominators and honored to be recognized by APS as an early-career physicist making an impact in particle physics.” Duarte said. “I credit my students, postdoctoral researchers and collaborators who have helped realize the promise of ML and AI algorithms in real-time data collection and Higgs physics at the LHC.”