Columbia University, United States
I collect old stamps. I look for old stamp albums, postcards, or mailed envelopes at flea markets, and then go through the stamps and try to find out more about them. I’m totally an amateur at this. But there’s something about a tiny piece of paper that might hide so much behind it that really fascinates me. I feel the same way about particles—seemingly insignificant or replaceable, but they represent so much about nature. My job on DUNE is to make sure that we design and build a system that can handle the several terabytes of data that the DUNE far detector will be spewing out every second, nonstop, for about a decade. This is an enormous amount of data, and we need to reduce it by a factor of 10,000 before we can store and analyze it. Our systems need to make quick decisions for getting rid of as much of it as possible and as soon as possible, but without throwing out any potentially useful physics signals. DUNE is an experiment built for discovery, so it is absolutely critical that we don’t accidentally throw away what could otherwise be a discovery of an extremely rare physics process in our detector. You need an incredibly efficient and powerful system to be able to do that.