Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tower of Babel

At some time, I'd like to try to lay out the genealogy of particle tracking codes in accelerator physics. Looking about the CERN site for MADX, we find a presentation on the Universal Accelerator Parser for the Accelerator Markup Language. Here, we see the status of accelerator codes described by Sagan as a "Tower of Babel". But, to be honest, at this point, I would not say that this accelerator markup language has caught on that widely.

I don't know why, but I keep trying to construct some kind of epic narrative about this topic. If the field of particle tracking codes is the tower of Babel, then we might refer to the shutdown of the SSC as the "hand of God" coming in and crushing the unified human effort to pierce Heaven for the glorification of Man.

Yes... dangerous waters. There is already far too much implicit religious metaphor pervading this field.

In any case, let us hope that something like the UAP/AML can help put the pieces back together again.

I should also mention another effort in this direction, the UAL, Unified Accelerator Library. I don't know the best link for this, since the BNL site seems to not be online anymore. Here's a paper, or here for a SPIRES search.

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