Markov chain Monte Carlo techniques applied to parton distribution functions determination: Proof of concept
AbstractWe present a new procedure to determine parton distribution functions (PDFs), based on Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods. The aim of this paper is to show that we can replace the standard χ2 minimization by procedures grounded on statistical methods, and on Bayesian inference in particular, thus offering additional insight into the rich field of PDFs determination. After a basic introduction to these techniques, we introduce the algorithm we have chosen to implement—namely Hybrid (or Hamiltonian) Monte Carlo. This algorithm, initially developed for Lattice QCD, turns out to be very interesting when applied to PDFs determination by global analyses; we show that it allows us to circumvent the difficulties due to the high dimensionality of the problem, in particular concerning the acceptance. A first feasibility study is performed and presented, which indicates that Markov chain Monte Carlo can successfully be applied to the extraction of PDFs and of their uncertainties.