Study of Monte Carlo approach to experimental uncertainty propagation with MSTW 2008 PDFs

  • G. Watt
  • R. S. Thorne
Open Access


We investigate the Monte Carlo approach to propagation of experimental uncertainties within the context of the established “MSTW 2008” global analysis of parton distribution functions (PDFs) of the proton at next-to-leading order in the strong coupling. We show that the Monte Carlo approach using replicas of the original data gives PDF uncertainties in good agreement with the usual Hessian approach using the standard Δχ 2 = 1 criterion, then we explore potential parameterisation bias by increasing the number of free parameters, concluding that any parameterisation bias is likely to be small, with the exception of the valence-quark distributions at low momentum fractions x. We motivate the need for a larger tolerance, Δχ 2 > 1, by making fits to restricted data sets and idealised consistent or inconsistent pseudodata. Instead of using data replicas, we alternatively produce PDF sets randomly distributed according to the covariance matrix of fit parameters including appropriate tolerance values, then we demonstrate a simpler method to produce an arbitrary number of random predictions on-the-fly from the existing eigenvector PDF sets. Finally, as a simple example application, we use Bayesian reweighting to study the effect of recent LHC data on the lepton charge asymmetry from W boson decays.


QCD Phenomenology Deep Inelastic Scattering (Phenomenology) 


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Copyright information

© SISSA 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Theory Group, Physics Department, CERNGeneva 23Switzerland
  2. 2.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity College LondonLondonU.K.

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