A new era in experimental nuclear physics has begun with the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and its dedicated heavy-ion detector system ALICE. Measuring the highest energy density ever produced in nucleus-nucleus collisions, the detector has been designed to study the properties of the created hot and dense medium, assumed to be a Quark-Gluon Plasma.
Comprised of 18 high granularity sub-detectors, ALICE delivers data from a few million electronic channels of proton-proton and heavy-ion collisions.
The produced data volume can reach up to 26 GByte/s for central Pb–Pb
collisions at design luminosity of L = 1027 cm−2 s−1 , challenging not only the data storage, but also the physics analysis. A High-Level Trigger (HLT) has been built and commissioned to reduce that amount of data to a storable value prior to archiving with the means of data filtering and compression without the loss of physics information. Implemented as a large high performance compute cluster, the HLT is able to perform a full reconstruction of all events at the time of data-taking, which allows to trigger, based on the information of a complete event. Rare physics probes, with high transverse momentum, can be identified and selected to enhance the overall physics reach of the experiment.
The commissioning of the HLT is at the center of this thesis. Being deeply embedded in the ALICE data path and, therefore, interfacing all other ALICE subsystems, this commissioning imposed not only a major challenge, but also a massive coordination effort, which was completed with the first proton-proton collisions reconstructed by the HLT. Furthermore, this thesis is completed with the study and implementation of on-line high transverse momentum triggers.