Implementing a Rivet analysis

In order to implement a new analysis, you can start from a template created by the Rivet tools. Best start in a new directory for the implementation and create the template therein:

mkdir myRivet
cd myRivet
rivet-mkanalysis <ID>

where ID specifies the identifier of the analysis. If you are aiming for an official analysis, you should use the proper identifier; if you are just testing, you can use essentially what you want. If you use an identifier referring to a published analysis, e.g. ALICE_2011_I1080735, you automatically get the reference data (taken from HepData) and the metadata (taken from spires/inspire) for this analysis.

In the next step, you "just" have to add the missing bits and pieces to the template. In more detail, the rivet-mkanalysis command will give you a bunch of files, amongst others a cc-file for the implementation of the analysis. This cc-file contains already the required class and the mandatory methods:

  • init
  • analyze
  • finalize

which you still have to fill with useful content, of course. We will explain the required implementations in more details below, the template (for an assumed analysis ALICE_2016_test) contains:

// -*- C++ -*-
#include "Rivet/Analysis.hh"
#include "Rivet/Projections/FinalState.hh"
#include "Rivet/Projections/FastJets.hh"
#include "Rivet/Projections/DressedLeptons.hh"
#include "Rivet/Projections/MissingMomentum.hh"
#include "Rivet/Projections/PromptFinalState.hh"

namespace Rivet {

  /// @brief Add a short analysis description here
  class ALICE_2016_test : public Analysis {

    /// Constructor

    /// @name Analysis methods

    /// Book histograms and initialise projections before the run
    void init() {

      // Initialise and register projections

      // The basic final-state projection:
      // all final-state particles within
      // the given eta acceptance
      const FinalState fs(Cuts::abseta < 4.9);

      // The final-state particles declared above are clustered using FastJet with
      // the anti-kT algorithm and a jet-radius parameter 0.4
      // muons and neutrinos are excluded from the clustering
      FastJets jetfs(fs, FastJets::ANTIKT, 0.4, JetAlg::Muons::NONE, JetAlg::Invisibles::NONE);
      declare(jetfs, "jets");

      // FinalState of prompt photons and bare muons and electrons in the event
      PromptFinalState photons(Cuts::abspid == PID::PHOTON);
      PromptFinalState bare_leps(Cuts::abspid == PID::MUON || Cuts::abspid == PID::ELECTRON);

      // Dress the prompt bare leptons with prompt photons within dR < 0.1,
      // and apply some fiducial cuts on the dressed leptons
      Cut lepton_cuts = Cuts::abseta < 2.5 && Cuts::pT > 20*GeV;
      DressedLeptons dressed_leps(photons, bare_leps, 0.1, lepton_cuts);
      declare(dressed_leps, "leptons");

      // Missing momentum
      declare(MissingMomentum(fs), "MET");

      // Book histograms
      // specify custom binning
      book(_h["XXXX"], "myh1", 20, 0.0, 100.0);
      book(_h["YYYY"], "myh2", logspace(20, 1e-2, 1e3));
      book(_h["ZZZZ"], "myh3", {0.0, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, 8.0, 16.0});
      // take binning from reference data using HEPData ID (digits in "d01-x01-y01" etc.)
      book(_h["AAAA"], 1, 1, 1);
      book(_p["BBBB"], 2, 1, 1);
      book(_c["CCCC"], 3, 1, 1);


    /// Perform the per-event analysis
    void analyze(const Event& event) {

      // Retrieve dressed leptons, sorted by pT
      vector<DressedLepton> leptons = apply<DressedLeptons>(event, "leptons").dressedLeptons();

      // Retrieve clustered jets, sorted by pT, with a minimum pT cut
      Jets jets = apply<FastJets>(event, "jets").jetsByPt(Cuts::pT > 30*GeV);

      // Remove all jets within dR < 0.2 of a dressed lepton
      idiscardIfAnyDeltaRLess(jets, leptons, 0.2);

      // Select jets ghost-associated to B-hadrons with a certain fiducial selection
      Jets bjets = filter_select(jets, [](const Jet& jet) {
        return  jet.bTagged(Cuts::pT > 5*GeV && Cuts::abseta < 2.5);

      // Veto event if there are no b-jets
      if (bjets.empty())  vetoEvent;

      // Apply a missing-momentum cut
      if (apply<MissingMomentum>(event, "MET").missingPt() < 30*GeV)  vetoEvent;

      // Fill histogram with leading b-jet pT


    /// Normalise histograms etc., after the run
    void finalize() {

      normalize(_h["XXXX"]); // normalize to unity
      normalize(_h["YYYY"], crossSection()/picobarn); // normalize to generated cross-section in fb (no cuts)
      scale(_h["ZZZZ"], crossSection()/picobarn/sumW()); // norm to generated cross-section in pb (after cuts)



    /// @name Histograms
    map<string, Histo1DPtr> _h;
    map<string, Profile1DPtr> _p;
    map<string, CounterPtr> _c;




Rivet usually does not use a separate header file for the implementation of the main class of the analysis (you can add further classes and headers if the analysis gets more complex). When extending the code for the Rivet plugin, be careful to follow Rivet coding conventions (which are different from the ALICE ones) such that the analysis can eventually be submitted to the Rivet team for integration into the official distribution.

You can already try and compile the plugin at this stage to make sure that the setup and preparations are correct:


which builds the shared library to be used by Rivet.

Required member variables and methods

For the plugin to do something useful, you need to add code in a few places. The basic steps are usually very straight-forward.

member variables

You can add member variables in the private section (below the Analysis methods section). They should follow the naming conventions of Rivet. This is the place where you add the pointers for histograms, profiles, etc. There are special Rivet structures for such pointers which should be used:

Histo1DPtr   _h_0000; // for a histogram
Profile1DPtr _h_0001; // for a profile

Of course, you can also add variables of your own, e.g. to define pt/rapidity ranges, jet radii, ...


The code in this method is run once at the beginning of the run. It is used to set up the analysis.

Here, you have to book the histograms (using the previously added pointers). When implementing a published analysis, the preferred way to book the histograms is to let Rivet take the histogram details from the reference data:

book(_h_0000, "d01-x01-y01");
book(_h_0001, "TMP/test", refData(1, 1, 1));

where d01-x01-y01 refers to the reference data (following HepData naming conventions for the histograms). If you don't have a reference histogram or you need to use a different binning, you can book a histogram as follows:

book(_hist, "pt_h", 10, 0., 20.);

In addition to the histogram bookings, you need to add all the projections required for the analysis. Rivet uses projections to extract (and re-use) observables from the final state, e.g. particles (after cuts), jets, .... E.g. for an analysis based on charged particles in the rapidity interval etamax, you would use:

// need to #include "Rivet/Projections/ChargedFinalState.hh"
const ChargedFinalState cfs(Cuts::abseta < _etamax);
declare(cfs, "CFS");

For an analysis based on jets you would use:

const FinalState fs_jet(Cuts::abseta < (_etamax + _jet_r));
declare(fs_jet, "FS_JET");
FastJets fj02(fs_jet, FastJets::ANTIKT, _jet_r);
declare(fj02, "Jets02");

For an analysis based on primary particles according to the ALICE definition you would use:

// need to #include "Rivet/Projections/AliceCommon.hh"
// Charged, primary particles with |eta| < 0.5 and pT > 150 MeV
declare(ALICE::PrimaryParticles(Cuts::abseta < 0.5 && Cuts::pT > 150*MeV && Cuts::abscharge > 0), "APRIM");

For more details on possible projections, see the reference page


The code in this method is run for every event and is used for the actual (event-wise) analysis. The event for analysis is passed as parameter to the function. Commonly, you apply the projections, and fill some histograms:

const ALICE::PrimaryParticles & aprim = apply<ALICE::PrimaryParticles>(event, "APRIM");

for (const Particle &p : aprim.particles()) {

N.B.: Here, the iterations use C++11 constructs.


The code in this method is run once after the run. It is typically used for scaling and/or normalization of histograms. In order to normalize a histogram to the number of events, you can make use of Rivet helpers:

scale(_h_0000, 1./sumOfWeights());

where sumOfWeights() is provided by Rivet.

example analysis

In order to explain the required steps in a real life situation, we will go through the implementation for the analysis published as :

The content we now want to reproduce in Rivet is the following:

  • transverse momentum spectra of identified pions, kaons, protons
  • particle ratios: kaons / pions, protons / pions For the implementation, you can to the ALICE Rivet reference page to look up the individual ingredients you might need for your analysis.

Now, we go step by step.

identifier and template

First, we need to find the identifier for the analysis we want to implement. The analysis was published in 2015 and has the inspire ID 1357424. Thus, the identifier is ALICE_2015_I1357424.

Now, we can create the template structure (don't forget to load the environment for Rivet and to change to an appropriate directory):

rivet-mkanalysis ALICE_2015_I1357424

As mentioned before, the analysis can already be compiled and run (even though it does nothing useful at this stage):

rivet --pwd -a ALICE_2015_I1357424 /eos/project/a/alipwgmm/rivet/hepmc/pythia6_pp7000.hepmc

initialisation (histograms and projections)

First, we book the required histograms. We need one histogram for each of the pt spectra of pions, kaons, and protons. Eventually, we also want to plot the ratios of the spectra for which a different binning was used. Therefore, we need additional temporary histograms.

So, we add the required member variables (in the private section):

  // histograms for spectra
  Histo1DPtr _histPtPions;
  Histo1DPtr _histPtProtons;
  Histo1DPtr _histPtKaons;

  // temporary histograms for ratios
  Histo1DPtr _histPtPionsR1;
  Histo1DPtr _histPtPionsR2;
  Histo1DPtr _histPtProtonsR;
  Histo1DPtr _histPtKaonsR;

  // scatter plots for ratios
  Scatter2DPtr _histPtKtoPi;
  Scatter2DPtr _histPtPtoPi;

Then, we add the booking of the histograms (in the init method):

  // plots from the paper
  book(_histPtPions   , "d01-x01-y01");  // pions
  book(_histPtKaons   , "d01-x01-y02");  // kaons
  book(_histPtProtons , "d01-x01-y03");  // protons
  book(_histPtKtoPi   , "d02-x01-y01");  // K to pi ratio 
  book(_histPtPtoPi   , "d03-x01-y01");  // p to pi ratio

  // temp histos for ratios
  book(_histPtPionsR1   , "TMP/pT_pi1", refData(2, 1, 1)); // pi histo compatible with more restricted kaon binning
  book(_histPtPionsR2   , "TMP/pT_pi2", refData(3, 1, 1)); // pi histo compatible with more restricted proton binning
  book(_histPtKaonsR    , "TMP/pT_K",   refData(2, 1, 1)); // K histo with more restricted binning
  book(_histPtProtonsR  , "TMP/pT_p",   refData(3, 1, 1)); // p histo with more restricted binning

Next, we book the projections for the identified particles (also in the init method):

  const ChargedFinalState cfs(Cuts::absrap < 0.5);
  addProjection(cfs, "CFS");

Here, we use the charged final state (with a rapidity cut) and will deal with the particle identification directly in the analysis code.


This example did not use the ALICE::PrimaryParticles projection because it was implemented before this projection was introduced in Rivet. The selection of primary particles according to the ALICE definition is therefore done by hand, by looking at the particle ancestors. The code below could in principle be simplified by removing the large set of if statements if the ALICE::PrimaryParticles projection is used

const ALICE::PrimaryParticles& aprim = apply<ALICE::PrimaryParticles>(event, "APRIM");
for (const Particle& p : aprim.particles()) {

We did not modify this tutorial to reflect the actual code for this analysis as in Rivet.


Here, we just use the previously declared projection to loop over all the charged particles in the selected rapidity range and to fill the histograms. Note: We exclude feed-down from particles decaying weakly into π, K, p:

  const ChargedFinalState& cfs = apply<ChargedFinalState>(event, "CFS");
  for (const Particle& p : cfs.particles()) {
    // protections against mc generators decaying long-lived particles
    if ( !(p.hasAncestor(310)  || p.hasAncestor(-310)  ||     // K0s
           p.hasAncestor(130)  || p.hasAncestor(-130)  ||     // K0l
           p.hasAncestor(3322) || p.hasAncestor(-3322) ||     // Xi0
           p.hasAncestor(3122) || p.hasAncestor(-3122) ||     // Lambda
           p.hasAncestor(3222) || p.hasAncestor(-3222) ||     // Sigma+/-
           p.hasAncestor(3312) || p.hasAncestor(-3312) ||     // Xi-/+ 
           p.hasAncestor(3334) || p.hasAncestor(-3334) ))     // Omega-/+     
        switch (abs( {
        case 211: // pi+
        case 2212: // proton
        case 321: // K+
      } // particle switch
    } // primary pi, K, p only
  } // particle loop


In the end, we build the particle ratios to pions (K/π and P/π) and normalize the histograms in order to show 1/Nev d²N/dpt dy event-normalised spectra :

  divide(_histPtKaonsR,   _histPtPionsR1, _histPtKtoPi);
  divide(_histPtProtonsR, _histPtPionsR2, _histPtPtoPi);

  scale(_histPtPions,       1./sumOfWeights());
  scale(_histPtProtons,     1./sumOfWeights());
  scale(_histPtKaons,       1./sumOfWeights());

try your new analysis

Now, try and run the analysis on the test file:

rivet --pwd -a ALICE_2015_I1357424 /eos/project/a/alipwgmm/rivet/hepmc/pythia6_pp7000.hepmc

N.B.: Note the option --pwd which instructs Rivet to look for the specified analyses (also) in the current working directory.

Next, create the plots and compare:

rivet-mkhtml --pwd Rivet.yoda

(if needed copy plots/ directory locally).

In case of problems, you can look at the reference implementation - but first try to sort it out yourself.

experiment with the analysis

In order to gather experience with programming Rivet plugins, it is good to experiment a bit. You can e.g. try to:

  • replace the projection to use particle identification
  • move the primary selection to a separate function
  • ...

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