Introductory course

PTB, Braunschweig, 22-26 June 2009

This introductory course on the Geant4 Simulation Toolkit is hosted by Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) at Braunschweig; it is attended by PTB staff. Please contact the local organizer for practical details concerning the course organization.

 Abstract   Programme   Lecture notes: Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 3 Unit 4 Unit 5 Code for the exercises   Training team 

Geant4: Simulation of Particle Interactions with Matter


Geant4 is a software toolkit for the simulation of the interaction of particles with matter, developed and maintained by a world-wide collaboration of physicists and computer scientists. Its application areas include high energy physics experiments, astrophysics and astroparticle physics, nuclear physics, space science, medical physics and medical imaging, radiation protection etc. It exploits software engineering techniques and the object oriented technology to achieve transparency of the physics implementation, as well as openness to extension and evolution. The toolkit provides functionality for all the typical domains of detector simulation, such as Geometry modeling, Detector Response, Run and Event management, Tracking, Visualisation and User Interface. An abundant set of Physics Processes handle the diverse interactions of particles with matter across a wide energy range, as required by Geant4 multi-disciplinary nature; for many physics processes a choice among different models is available. 
The Geant4 source code and libraries are freely available, accompanied by an extensive set of user documentation. 

This course provides an overview of Geant4 capabilities and teaches how to simulate an experimental set-up; the lectures are complemented by hands-on exercises. As a result of the course the students will learn how to develop their own simulation applications based on the Geant4 toolkit. 

To best profit of the course, some basic knowledge of the C++ computing language  is recommended. The exercises are performed in a Linux environment.

Computing infrastructure needed for the course and Instructions how to access the PC hosting the course


The course is articulated over 5 units, each one spread across a day and addressing a specific simulation domain.
Each unit consists of morning lectures and practical exercises in the afternoon on the topics learned in the morning, with the exception of the last afternoon devoted to a discussion session.
The morning and afternoon sessions are scheduled over a duration of 3 hours approximately with a 30' tea break each and a lunch break in between.
The hands-on sessions adopt a common pattern:

Unit 1 - 19 May - The basics

This unit provides an overview of Geant4 capabilities and basic concepts of a Geant4-based simulation application.
To facilitate students not familiar with the computing technologies applied in the course, a refresher introduction to object oriented programming and Linux operating system is provided.
The hands-on session deals with installing Geant4 and satellite products and guides the students to execute simple examples included in the Geant4 toolkit.

Welcome - Local organizers

Introduction - Hosts, instructors and students

Geant4 refresher seminar - M. G. Pia

Tea break (with discussion)

Introduction to Object Oriented Programming - M. G. Pia

Geant4 user application - M. G. Pia


Geant4 installation - M. Sudhakar

Tea break

Novice examples - V. Grichine

Unit 2 - 20 May - How to describe an experimental set-up

This unit teaches how to describe an experimental configuration in a Geant4-based user application.
The lectures present the Geant4 domains of materials and geometry, and illustrate how to generate primary particles as an input to the simulation.
The hands-on session guides the students through the creation of a simple experimental set-up in a user application.

Detector modelling  1 - V. Grichine

Tea break

Detector modelling  2 - V. Grichine

Primary event generation  - M. G. Pia


Introduction to the hands-on session  - M. G. Pia

Exercise: modelling an experimental configuration - V. Grichine, M. Sudhakar

Tea break during the exercises

Unit 3 - 21 May - Physics in Geant4

This unit provides a thorough overview of the physics processes and models available in Geant4 to simulate particle interactions with matter.
The hands-on session shows how to select the processes and models to be active in a user application; simple examples of physics configuration for various use cases are exercised, pertinent to different particle types and energy ranges.

Physics 1

Tea break

Physics 2


Introduction to the hands-on session   - M. G. Pia

Exercise: selecting physics in the simulation - V. Grichine, M. Sudhakar

Tea break during the exercise

Unit 4 - 22 May - How to retrieve information from the simulation

This unit teaches how a user application can interact with Geant4 kernel to retrieve information of interest to the user; it illustrates how to visualize and analyze the outcome of the simulation..
The lectures present the Geant4 concepts of hits and digitisation, the interactive capabilities of visualisation and user interface, and how to utilize analysis tools in a simulation. An in-depth overview of Geant4 User Actions with examples how to exploit them is provided.
The hands-on session focuses on retrieving and using information from the simulation in a user application.

Interactive capabilities - M. Sudhakar

Encoding simulation results - M. G. Pia

Tea break

Interacting with Geant4 kernel - M. G. Pia


Introduction to the hands-on session - M. G. Pia

Installation of analysis tools - M. Sudhakar

Exercise: retrieving and analyzing results from the simulation - V. Grichine, M. Sudhakar

Tea break during the exercises

Unit 5 - 23 May - Beyond the basics

This unit illustrates some additional Geant4 capabilities beyond the basic tools illustrated in the previous lectures and shows how to run Geant4-based simulations in parallel mode.
The short afternoon session is devoted to discussion.

Overview of additional Geant4 capabilities - M. Sudhakar

Tea break

How to learn more  - M. G. Pia



Course material

Computing infrastructure needed for the course
Lecture notes - PLEASE NOTE that no paper copies will be distributed during the course.
iAIDA primer - A. Lechner

Geant4 User Documentation can be browsed from the web or downloaded for printing.

Training team

The training team covers various areas of expertise in Geant4 development and applications:

Vladimir Grichine, Lebedev Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow (currently at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland)
Maria Grazia Pia, INFN Sezione di Genova, Via Dodecaneso 33, 16146 Genova, Italy - Phone: +39 010 353 6328, Fax: +39 010 313358
Manju Sudhakar, INFN Sezione di Genova, Italy

The course is based on training material by the Geant4 Collaboration, complemented by original material by the instructors listed above; in particular, thanks to K. Amako, M. Asai, G. Cosmo, A. Heikkinen, A. Howard, A. Lechner, M. Maire, Y. Morita, L. Pandola, A. Pfeiffer, T. Sasaki, S. Tanaka, M. Verderi, D. Wright, H. Yoshida.

Last update 15 giugno 2009 - Maria Grazia Pia