Abstract:
We present results for one-loop perturbative matching factors using bilinear operators composed of improved staggered fermions, using unimproved (Wilson) and improved (Symanzik, Iwasaki, and DBW2) gluon actions. We consider two fermions actions---HYP/$\bar{\text{Fat7}}$-smeared and "asqtad". The former is being used in calculations of electroweak matrix elements, while the latter have been used extensively by the MILC collaboration. We observe that using the improved gluon action leads to small reductions in the perturbative corrections, but that these reductions are smaller than those obtained when moving from the tadpole-improved naive staggered action to either HYP-smeared or asqtad action.

Abstract:
We prove that logarithmically divergent one-loop lattice Feynman integrals have the general form I(p,a) = f(p)log(aM)+g(p,M) up to terms which vanish for lattice spacing a -> 0. Here p denotes collectively the external momenta and M is an arbitrary mass scale. The f(p) is shown to be universal and to coincide with the analogous quantity in the corresponding continuum integral (regularized, e.g., by momentum cut-off). This is essential for universality of the lattice QCD beta-function and anomalous dimensions of renormalized lattice operators at one loop. The result and argument presented here are simplified versions of ones given in arXiv:0709.0781. A noteworthy feature of the argument here is that it does not involve Taylor expansion in external momenta, hence infra-red divergences associated with that expansion do not arise.

Abstract:
We present results for one-loop matching factors of four-fermion operators composed of HYP-smeared staggered fermions. We generalize previous calculations by using the tree-level improved Symanzik gauge action. These results are needed for our companion numerical calculation of $B_K$ and related matrix elements. We find that the impact on one-loop matching factors of using the improved gluon action is much smaller than that from the use of either HYP smearing or mean-field improvement. The one-loop coefficients for mean-field improved, HYP-smeared operators with the Symanzik gauge action have a maximum magnitude of $O(1)\times \alpha_s$, indicating that perturbation theory is reasonably convergent.

Abstract:
We present results for matching factors for bilinear operators composed of HYP-smeared staggered fermions and constructed using HYP-smeared fat links. The matching factors are calculated perturbatively at one-loop order. The new feature of our calculation compared to previous work on HYP-smeared staggered fermions is the use of the Symanzik-improved gluon propagator, which allows our results to be applied to our ongoing simulations based on configurations generated by the MILC collaboration. We address the issue of the relative efficiency of various improvement schemes in reducing one-loop corrections to the matching factors.

Abstract:
We present results for matching factors for staggered four-fermion operators constructed using HYP-smeared fat links both in the action and the operators. We use perturbation theory to calculate the matching factors and work to one-loop order. The new feaure of this work is the use of the Symanzik-improved gauge action, as opposed to the Wilson gauge action. Our results are needed for our ongoing calculation of weak matrix elements using HYP-smeared staggered valence quarks and operators on MILC lattices. We give explicit results for matching factors of the operator needed to calculate $B_K$. We compare the impact of the improvement of the gauge action on one-loop coefficients with that of mean-field improvement of the operators.

Abstract:
We present preliminary results of $B_K$ calculated using improved staggered fermions with the mixed action (valence quarks = HYP staggered fermions and sea quarks = AsqTad staggered fermions). We analyze the data based upon the prediction by Van de Water and Sharpe. A hint of consistency with the prediction is observed. We also present preliminary results of $B_8^{(3/2)}$ and $B_7^{(3/2)}$.

Abstract:
We investigate the effect of non-degenerate quarks on $B_K$. This effect is noticeably large for $B_K$ (significantly larger than statistical uncertainty). Hence, it is important to include this effect in order to determine $B_K$ with higher precision. We also observe that the quality of fitting for $B_K$ gets better when we include non-degenerate combinations to fit to the prediction by Van de Water and Sharpe. However, this effect on $B_7^{(3/2)}$ and $B_8^{(3/2)}$ turns out to be relatively small.

Abstract:
We present renormalization factors for the bilinear operators obtained using the non-perturbative renormalization method (NPR) in the RI-MOM scheme with improved staggered fermions on the MILC asqtad lattices ($N_f = 2+1$). We use the MILC coarse ensembles with $20^3 \times 64$ geometry and $am_{\ell}/am_s = 0.01/0.05$. We obtain the wave function renormalization factor $Z_q$ from the conserved vector current and the mass renormalization factor $Z_m$ from the scalar bilinear operator. We also present preliminary results of renormalization factors for other bilinear operators.

Abstract:
We present results for the pion multiplet spectrum calculated using both unimproved staggered fermions and improved HYP-smeared staggered fermions. In the case of unimproved staggered fermions, we observe (consistent with previous work) that ${\cal O}(a^2)$ taste symmetry breaking effects are large and comparable to the $\approx {\cal O}(p^2)$ contributions to their masses. Higher order ${\cal O}(a^2 p^2)$ effects are also substantial enough to be seen. For HYP-smeared staggered fermions, we find that taste breaking is much reduced. The ${\cal O}(a^2)$ effects are observable, but are noticeably smaller than those obtained with AsqTad-improved staggered fermions, and much smaller than those obtained using unimproved staggered fermions, while ${\cal O}(a^2 p^2)$ effects are suppressed to such a level that we cannot observe them given our statistical errors. From this numerical study, we conclude that HYP staggered fermions are significantly better that AsqTad fermions from the perspective of taste symmetry breaking.

Abstract:
We present preliminary results for $B_K$ calculated using improved staggered fermions with a mixed action (HYP-smeared staggered valence quarks and AsqTad staggered sea quarks). We investigate the effect of non-degenerate quarks on $B_K$ and attempt to estimate the ${\cal O}(a^2)$ effect due to non-Goldstone pions in loops. We fit the data to continuum partially quenched chiral perturbation theory. We find that the quality of fit for $B_K$ improves if we include non-degenerate quark mass combinations. We also observe, however, that the fitting curve deviates from the data points in the light quark mass region. This may indicate the need to include taste-breaking in pion loops.