IF Document 144-v1

Neutrino Seminar Series: Unfolding Techniques: A Statistician’s Perspectiv

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Evan Niner
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Evan Niner
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17 Apr 2017, 13:29
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17 Apr 2017, 13:29
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17 Apr 2017, 13:29
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Any differential cross section measurement in experimental particle physics is smeared by the finite resolution of the particle detectors. Using the smeared observations to infer the true particle-level spectrum is an ill-posed inverse problem, typically referred to as unfolding or unsmearing. In this talk, I will first give an overview of the statistical techniques that are presently used to unfold particle spectra and give some practical recommendations based on experience from the LHC. I will then focus on the very challenging problem of quantifying the statistical uncertainty of the unfolded spectrum. I will demonstrate that techniques that are currently used may seriously underestimate the unfolded uncertainty. I will then propose two complementary approaches for obtaining improved unfolded confidence intervals. The first approach is based on debiasing the unfolded point estimate to obtain a bias-variance trade-off that is better suited for uncertainty quantification, while the second approach imposes shape constraints that are particularly relevant for unfolding steeply falling differential cross sections.
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