In the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, a scientific peer-to-peer computing project plans to extend its programme to the southern hemisphere.
The [email protected] (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) experiment already examines radio waves coming from space using data collected with the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico, as part of Project Serendip.
But it plans to analyse up to 20 times more data by extending the programme to the southern hemisphere using the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia.
Co-ordinated by the University of California at Berkeley, chief scientist Dan Werthimer said that the project's bandwidth and data had to be increased because "we were running into the possibility that we would soon run out of data to process, in part, because we have so many users".
The experiment has over 3.2 million volunteers from 226 countries. The project spins off chunks of collected data for analysis on users' computers. During idle time, a volunteer's screen saver downloads a chunk of this data and works on it. It then uploads the results and downloads a new piece.
"As we have gone through several generations of technology over the years, we want to increase the capabilities and start thinking about the next generation of bagging ET," explained Werthimer.
The group is still in the planning process although Werthimer did say that it is now starting to build a new recorder. Hewlett Packard (HP) recently donated a Linux-based digital data recorder, which is still being tested and should be deployed within the next few months.
HP said the new machine will register a lot more of the bandwidth for processing by [email protected] It will also be able to record many beams at once, which will greatly increase the amount of sky scrutinised.
"We want to plan for growth because more and more people are signing up every day," Werthimer said.
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