The automated computation of tree-level and next-to-leading order differential cross sections, and their matching to parton shower simulations
We discuss the theoretical bases that underpin the automation of the computations of tree-level and next-to-leading order cross sections, of their matching to parton shower simulations, and of the merging of matched samples that differ by light-parton multiplicities. We present a computer program, MadGraph5 aMC@NLO, capable of handling all these computations — parton-level fixed order, shower-matched, merged — in a unified framework whose defining features are flexibility, high level of parallelisation, and human intervention limited to input physics quantities. We demonstrate the potential of the program by presenting selected phenomenological applications relevant to the LHC and to a 1-TeV e + e - collider. While next-to-leading order results are restricted to QCD corrections to SM processes in the first public version, we show that from the user viewpoint no changes have to be expected in the case of corrections due to any given renormalisable Lagrangian, and that the implementation of these are well under way.