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Physics Models

Combine can be run directly on the text-based datacard. However, for more advanced physics models, the internal step to convert the datacard to a binary workspace should be performed by the user. To create a binary workspace starting from a datacard.txt, you can run datacard.txt -o workspace.root

By default (without the -o option), the binary workspace will be named datacard.root - i.e the .txt suffix will be replaced by .root.

A full set of options for text2workspace can be found by running --help.

The default model that will be produced when running text2workspace is one in which all processes identified as signal are multiplied by a common multiplier r. This is all that is needed for simply setting limits or calculating significances.

text2workspace will convert the datacard into a PDF that summarizes the analysis. For example, let's take a look at the data/tutorials/counting/simple-counting-experiment.txt datacard.

# Simple counting experiment, with one signal and one background process
# Extremely simplified version of the 35/pb H->WW analysis for mH = 200 GeV,
# for 4th generation exclusion (EWK-10-009, arxiv:1102.5429v1)
imax 1  number of channels
jmax 1  number of backgrounds
kmax 2  number of nuisance parameters (sources of systematical uncertainties)
# we have just one channel, in which we observe 0 events
bin         1
observation 0
# now we list the expected events for signal and all backgrounds in that bin
# the second 'process' line must have a positive number for backgrounds, and 0 for signal
# then we list the independent sources of uncertainties, and give their effect (syst. error)
# on each process and bin
bin             1      1
process       ggh4G  Bckg
process         0      1
rate           4.76  1.47
deltaS  lnN    1.20    -    20% uncertainty on signal
deltaB  lnN      -   1.50   50% uncertainty on background

If we run on this datacard and take a look at the workspace (w) inside the .root file produced, we will find a number of different objects representing the signal, background, and observed event rates, as well as the nuisance parameters and signal strength \(r\). Note that often in the statistics literature, this parameter is referred to as \(\mu\).

From these objects, the necessary PDF has been constructed (named model_s). For this counting experiment we will expect a simple PDF of the form

\[ p(n_{\mathrm{obs}}| r,\nu_{S},\nu_{B})\propto \dfrac{[r\cdot n_{S}(\nu_{S})+n_{B}(\nu_{B})]^{n_{\mathrm{obs}}} } {n_{\mathrm{obs}}!}e^{-[r\cdot n_{S}(\nu_{S})+n_{B}(\nu_{B})]} \cdot e^{-\frac{1}{2}(\nu_{S}- y_{S})^{2}} \cdot e^{-\frac{1}{2}(\nu_{B}- y_{B})^{2}} \]

where the expected signal and background rates are expressed as functions of the nuisance parameters, \(n_{S}(\nu_{S}) = 4.76(1+0.2)^{\nu_{S}}~\) and \(~n_{B}(\nu_{B}) = 1.47(1+0.5)^{\nu_{B}}\). The \(y_{S},~y_{B}\) are the auxiliary observables. In the code, these will have the same name as the corresponding nuisance parameter, with the extension _In.

The first term represents the usual Poisson expression for observing \(n_{\mathrm{obs}}\) events, while the second two are the Gaussian constraint terms for the nuisance parameters. In this case \({y_S}={y_B}=0\), and the widths of both Gaussians are 1.

A combination of counting experiments (or a binned shape datacard) will look like a product of PDFs of this kind. For parametric/unbinned analyses, the PDF for each process in each channel is provided instead of the using the Poisson terms and a product runs over the bin counts/events.

Model building

For more complex models, PhysicsModels can be produced. To use a different physics model instead of the default one, use the option -P as in datacard -P HiggsAnalysis.CombinedLimit.PythonFile:modelName

Generic models can be implemented by writing a python class that:

  • defines the model parameters (by default it is just the signal strength modifier r)
  • defines how signal and background yields depend on the parameters (by default, the signal scales linearly with r, backgrounds are constant)
  • potentially also modifies the systematic uncertainties (e.g. switch off theory uncertainties on cross section when measuring the cross section itself)

In the case of SM-like Higgs boson measurements, the class should inherit from SMLikeHiggsModel (redefining getHiggsSignalYieldScale), while beyond that one can inherit from PhysicsModel. You can find some examples in

In the 4-process model (PhysicsModel:floatingXSHiggs, you will see that each of the 4 dominant Higgs boson production modes get separate scaling parameters, r_ggH, r_qqH, r_ttH and r_VH (or r_ZH and r_WH) as defined in,

def doParametersOfInterest(self):
  """Create POI and other parameters, and define the POI set."""
  # --- Signal Strength as only POI ---
  if "ggH" in self.modes: self.modelBuilder.doVar("r_ggH[1,%s,%s]" % (self.ggHRange[0], self.ggHRange[1]))
  if "qqH" in self.modes: self.modelBuilder.doVar("r_qqH[1,%s,%s]" % (self.qqHRange[0], self.qqHRange[1]))
  if "VH"  in self.modes: self.modelBuilder.doVar("r_VH[1,%s,%s]"  % (self.VHRange [0], self.VHRange [1]))
  if "WH"  in self.modes: self.modelBuilder.doVar("r_WH[1,%s,%s]"  % (self.WHRange [0], self.WHRange [1]))
  if "ZH"  in self.modes: self.modelBuilder.doVar("r_ZH[1,%s,%s]"  % (self.ZHRange [0], self.ZHRange [1]))
  if "ttH" in self.modes: self.modelBuilder.doVar("r_ttH[1,%s,%s]" % (self.ttHRange[0], self.ttHRange[1]))
  poi = ",".join(["r_"+m for m in self.modes])
  if self.pois: poi = self.pois

The mapping of which POI scales which process is handled via the following function,

def getHiggsSignalYieldScale(self,production,decay, energy):
  if production == "ggH": return ("r_ggH" if "ggH" in self.modes else 1)
  if production == "qqH": return ("r_qqH" if "qqH" in self.modes else 1)
  if production == "ttH": return ("r_ttH" if "ttH" in self.modes else ("r_ggH" if self.ttHasggH else 1))
  if production in [ "WH", "ZH", "VH" ]: return ("r_VH" if "VH" in self.modes else 1)
  raise RuntimeError, "Unknown production mode '%s'" % production

You should note that text2workspace will look for the python module in PYTHONPATH. If you want to keep your model local, you'll need to add the location of the python file to PYTHONPATH.

A number of models used in the LHC Higgs combination paper can be found in

The models can be applied to the datacard by using the -P option, for example -P HiggsAnalysis.CombinedLimit.HiggsCouplings:c7, and others that are defined in

Below are some (more generic) example models that also exist in GitHub.

MultiSignalModel ready made model for multiple signal processes

Combine already contains a model HiggsAnalysis.CombinedLimit.PhysicsModel:multiSignalModel that can be used to assign different signal strengths to multiple processes in a datacard, configurable from the command line.

The model is configured by passing one or more mappings in the form --PO 'map=bin/process:parameter' to text2workspace:

  • bin and process can be arbitrary regular expressions matching the bin names and process names in the datacard. Note that mappings are applied both to signals and to background processes; if a line matches multiple mappings, precedence is given to the last one in the order they are in the command line. It is suggested to put quotes around the argument of --PO so that the shell does not try to expand any * signs in the patterns.
  • parameter is the POI to use to scale that process (name[starting_value,min,max] the first time a parameter is defined, then just name if used more than once). Special values are 1 and 0==; ==0 means "drop the process completely from the model", while 1 means to "keep the yield as is in the card with no scaling" (as normally done for backgrounds); 1 is the default that is applied to processes that have no mappings. Therefore it is normally not needed, but it may be used to override a previous more generic match in the same command line (e.g. --PO 'map=.*/ggH:r[1,0,5]' --PO 'map=bin37/ggH:1' would treat ggH as signal in general, but count it as background in the channel bin37).

Passing the additional option --PO verbose will set the code to verbose mode, printing out the scaling factors for each process; we encourage the use this option to make sure that the processes are being scaled correctly.

The MultiSignalModel will define all parameters as parameters of interest, but that can be then changed from the command line, as described in the following subsection.

Some examples, taking as reference the toy datacard test/multiDim/toy-hgg-125.txt:

  • Scale both ggH and qqH with the same signal strength r (that is what the default physics model of Combine does for all signals; if they all have the same systematic uncertainties, it is also equivalent to adding up their yields and writing them as a single column in the card)
  $ -P HiggsAnalysis.CombinedLimit.PhysicsModel:multiSignalModel  --PO verbose --PO 'map=.*/ggH:r[1,0,10]' --PO 'map=.*/qqH:r' toy-hgg-125.txt -o toy-1d.root
  Will create a POI  r  with factory  r[1,0,10]
  Mapping  r  to  ['.*/ggH']  patterns
  Mapping  r  to  ['.*/qqH']  patterns
  Will scale  incl/bkg  by  1
  Will scale  incl/ggH  by  r
  Will scale  incl/qqH  by  r
  Will scale  dijet/bkg  by  1
  Will scale  dijet/ggH  by  r
  Will scale  dijet/qqH  by  r
  • Define two independent parameters of interest r_ggH and r_qqH
  $ -P HiggsAnalysis.CombinedLimit.PhysicsModel:multiSignalModel  --PO verbose --PO 'map=.*/ggH:r_ggH[1,0,10]' --PO 'map=.*/qqH:r_qqH[1,0,20]' toy-hgg-125.txt -o toy-2d.root
  Will create a POI  r_ggH  with factory  r_ggH[1,0,10]
  Mapping  r_ggH  to  ['.*/ggH']  patterns
  Will create a POI  r_qqH  with factory  r_qqH[1,0,20]
  Mapping  r_qqH  to  ['.*/qqH']  patterns
  Will scale  incl/bkg  by  1
  Will scale  incl/ggH  by  r_ggH
  Will scale  incl/qqH  by  r_qqH
  Will scale  dijet/bkg  by  1
  Will scale  dijet/ggH  by  r_ggH
  Will scale  dijet/qqH  by  r_qqH
  • Fix ggH to SM, define only qqH as parameter
  $ -P HiggsAnalysis.CombinedLimit.PhysicsModel:multiSignalModel  --PO verbose --PO 'map=.*/ggH:1' --PO 'map=.*/qqH:r_qqH[1,0,20]' toy-hgg-125.txt -o toy-1d-qqH.root
  Mapping  1  to  ['.*/ggH']  patterns
  Will create a POI  r_qqH  with factory  r_qqH[1,0,20]
  Mapping  r_qqH  to  ['.*/qqH']  patterns
  Will scale  incl/bkg  by  1
  Will scale  incl/ggH  by  1
  Will scale  incl/qqH  by  r_qqH
  Will scale  dijet/bkg  by  1
  Will scale  dijet/ggH  by  1
  Will scale  dijet/qqH  by  r_qqH
  • Drop ggH , and define only qqH as parameter
 $ -P HiggsAnalysis.CombinedLimit.PhysicsModel:multiSignalModel  --PO verbose --PO 'map=.*/ggH:0' --PO 'map=.*/qqH:r_qqH[1,0,20]' toy-hgg-125.txt -o toy-1d-qqH0-only.root
 Mapping  0  to  ['.*/ggH']  patterns
 Will create a POI  r_qqH  with factory  r_qqH[1,0,20]
 Mapping  r_qqH  to  ['.*/qqH']  patterns
 Will scale  incl/bkg  by  1
 Will scale  incl/ggH  by  0
 Will scale  incl/qqH  by  r_qqH
 Will scale  dijet/bkg  by  1
 Will scale  dijet/ggH  by  0
 Will scale  dijet/qqH  by  r_qqH

Two Hypothesis testing

The PhysicsModel that encodes the signal model above is the twoHypothesisHiggs, which assumes signal processes with suffix _ALT will exist in the datacard. An example of such a datacard can be found under data/benchmarks/simple-counting/twoSignals-3bin-bigBSyst.txt

 $ twoSignals-3bin-bigBSyst.txt -P HiggsAnalysis.CombinedLimit.HiggsJPC:twoHypothesisHiggs -m 125.7 --PO verbose -o jcp_hww.root

 MH (not there before) will be assumed to be 125.7
 Process  S  will get norm  not_x
 Process  S_ALT  will get norm  x
 Process  S  will get norm  not_x
 Process  S_ALT  will get norm  x
 Process  S  will get norm  not_x
 Process  S_ALT  will get norm  x

The two processes (S and S_ALT) will get different scaling parameters. The LEP-style likelihood for hypothesis testing can now be used by setting x or not_x to 1 and 0 and comparing the two likelihood evaluations.

Signal-background interference

Since negative probability distribution functions do not exist, the recommended way to implement this is to start from the expression for the individual amplitudes \(A\) and the parameter of interest \(k\),

\[ \mathrm{Yield} = |k * A_{s} + A_{b}|^2 = k^2 * |A_{s}|^2 + k * 2 \Re(A_{s}^* A_{b}) + |A_{b}|^2 = \mu * S + \sqrt{\mu} * I + B \]


\(\mu = k^2, ~S = |A_{s}|^2,~B = |A_b|^2\) and \(S+B+I = |A_s + A_b|^2\).

With some algebra you can work out that,

\(\mathrm{Yield} = \sqrt{\mu} * \left[S+B+I\right] + (\mu-\sqrt{\mu}) * \left[S\right] + (1-\sqrt{\mu}) * \left[B\right]\)

where square brackets represent the input (histograms as TH1 or RooDataHists) that one needs to provide.

An example of this scheme is implemented in a HiggsWidth and is completely general, since all of the three components above are strictly positive. In this example, the POI is CMS_zz4l_mu and the equations for the three components are scaled (separately for the qqH and ggH processes) as,

 self.modelBuilder.factory_( "expr::ggH_s_func(\"@0-sqrt(@0)\", CMS_zz4l_mu)")
 self.modelBuilder.factory_(  "expr::ggH_b_func(\"1-sqrt(@0)\", CMS_zz4l_mu)")
 self.modelBuilder.factory_(  "expr::ggH_sbi_func(\"sqrt(@0)\", CMS_zz4l_mu)")

 self.modelBuilder.factory_( "expr::qqH_s_func(\"@0-sqrt(@0)\", CMS_zz4l_mu)")
 self.modelBuilder.factory_(  "expr::qqH_b_func(\"1-sqrt(@0)\", CMS_zz4l_mu)")
 self.modelBuilder.factory_(  "expr::qqH_sbi_func(\"sqrt(@0)\", CMS_zz4l_mu)")

Multi-process interference

The above formulation can be extended to multiple parameters of interest (POIs). See AnalyticAnomalousCoupling for an example. However, the computational performance scales quadratically with the number of POIs, and can get extremely expensive for 10 or more, as may be encountered often with EFT analyses. To alleviate this issue, an accelerated interference modeling technique is implemented for template-based analyses via the interferenceModel physics model. In this model, each bin yield \(y\) is parameterized

\[ y(\vec{\mu}) = y_0 (\vec{\mu}^\top M \vec{\mu}) \]

as a function of the POI vector \(\vec{\mu}\), a nominal template \(y_0\), and a scaling matrix \(M\). To see how this parameterization relates to that of the previous section, we can define:

\[ y_0 = A_b^2, \qquad M = \frac{1}{A_b^2} \begin{bmatrix} |A_s|^2 & \Re(A_s^* A_b) \\ \Re(A_s A_b^*) & |A_b|^2 \end{bmatrix}, \qquad \vec{\mu} = \begin{bmatrix} \sqrt{\mu} \\ 1 \end{bmatrix} \]

which leads to the same parameterization. At present, this technique only works with CMSHistFunc-based workspaces, as these are the most common workspace types encountered and the default when using autoMCStats. To use this model, for each bin find \(y_0\) and put it into the datacard as a signal process, then find \(M\) and save the lower triangular component as an array in a scaling.json file with a syntax as follows:

    "channel": "my_channel",
    "process": "my_nominal_process",
    "parameters": ["sqrt_mu[1,0,2]", "Bscaling[1]"],
    "scaling": [
      [0.5, 0.1, 1.0],
      [0.6, 0.2, 1.0],
      [0.7, 0.3, 1.0]

where the parameters are declared using RooFit's factory syntax and each row of the scaling field represents the scaling information of a bin, e.g. if \(y_0 = |A_b|^2\) then each row would contain three entries:

\[ |A_s|^2 / |A_b|^2,\quad \Re(A_s^* A_b)/|A_b|^2,\quad 1 \]

For several coefficients, one would enumerate as follows:

scaling = []
for ibin in range(nbins):
    binscaling = []
    for icoef in range(ncoef):
        for jcoef in range(icoef + 1):
            binscaling.append(amplitude_squared_for(ibin, icoef, jcoef))

Then, to construct the workspace, run card.txt -P HiggsAnalysis.CombinedLimit.InterferenceModels:interferenceModel \
    --PO verbose --PO scalingData=scaling.json

For large amounts of scaling data, you can optionally use gzipped json (.json.gz) or pickle (.pkl.gz) files with 2D numpy arrays for the scaling coefficients instead of lists. The function numpy.tril_indices(ncoef) is helpful for extracting the lower triangle of a square matrix.

You could pick any nominal template, and adjust the scaling as appropriate. Generally it is advisable to use a nominal template corresponding to near where you expect the best-fit values of the POIs to be so that the shape systematic effects are well-modeled in that region.

It may be the case that the relative contributions of the terms are themselves a function of the POIs. For example, in VBF di-Higgs production, BSM modifications to the production rate can be parameterized in the "kappa" framework via three diagrams, with scaling coefficients \(\kappa_V \kappa_\lambda\), \(\kappa_V^2\), and \(\kappa_{2V}\), respectively, that interfere. In that case, you can declare formulas with the factory syntax to represent each amplitude as follows:

    "channel": "a_vbf_channel",
    "process": "VBFHH",
    "parameters": ["expr::a0('@0*@1', kv[1,0,2], kl[1,0,2])", "expr::a1('@0*@0', kv[1,0,2])", "k2v[1,0,2]"],
    "scaling": [
      [3.30353674666415, -8.54170982038222, 22.96464188467882, 4.2353483207128, -11.07996258835088, 5.504469544697623],
      [2.20644332142891, -7.076836641962523, 23.50989689214267, 4.053185685866683, -13.08569222837996, 7.502346155380032]

However, you will need to manually specify what the POIs should be when creating the workspace using the POIs= physics option, e.g. card.txt -P HiggsAnalysis.CombinedLimit.InterferenceModels:interferenceModel \
  --PO scalingData=scaling.json --PO 'POIs=kl[1,0,2]:kv[1,0,2]:k2v[1,0,2]'