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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 21

Home PC's Help SETI Search For ETs

From: Stig Agermose <Stig_Agermose@online.pol.dk>
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 08:23:17 +0200
Fwd Date: Tue, 21 Jul 1998 07:08:52 -0400
Subject: Home PC's Help SETI Search For ETs


From the Houston Chronicle. URL:

http://www.chron.com/cgi-bin/auth/story.mpl/content/interactive/space/ne
ws/98/980720a.html

Links are preceded by asterisks.

Stig

********

8:40 AM 7/20/1998

PCs to help SETI listen for extra-terrestrials
by Pierre Celerier

LOS ANGELES, July 20 (AFP) - Thousands of volunteers around the
world are putting their personal computers at the disposition of
US researchers hoping to find signs of extra-terrestrial
intelligence.

Want to join the effort? Learn more at *the SETI@home website.
The cyber-volunteers will help scientists in the project, known
as the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence at Home, or
SETI@home, said Dr. David Anderson of the University of
California at Berkeley.

"We have 115,000 people signed up," Anderson said. "I don't have
statistics, but I believe a large fraction are international,"
with most from Europe.

"Each participant will have the slight but captivating
possibility that his or her computer will detect the faint
murmur of a civilization beyond Earth," he said.

The PCs around the world will create a virtual super computer by
using the SETI@home program, a kind of screensaver.

"Like other screensavers it starts up when you leave your
computer unattended, and it shuts down as soon as you return to
work," the researchers say on their Internet site.

"What it does in the interim is unique. While you are getting
coffee, or having lunch or sleeping, your computer will be
helping the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence by
analyzing data specially captured by the world's largest radio
telescope," the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.

Existing SETI projects use custom signal processing hardware,
listening to the real-time telescope output on millions of
frequency channels simultaneously.

But that only skims the surface. Researchers say volunteers will
help the project analyze smaller parts of frequency spectrums
more thoroughly.

SETI has been functioning for two decades, financed at a number
of US universities through private donations. The 1997 Hollywood
film "Contact" starred Jodie Foster as a SETI researcher who
stumbles across a signal from another planet.

"No one has been able to do a search this sensitive before
because it takes a huge amount of computing power," said Dan
Werthimer of the Search for Extraterrestrial Radio Emissions
from nearby Developed Intelligent Populations, or SERENDIP.

>From the Arecibo telescope, SERENDIP instruments listen to 168
million frequencies simultaneously.

"The signals we are searching for are likely to be very weak,
because they have traveled such long distances," said Werthimer.
"So we've made SETI@home 10 times more sensitive to weak signals
than our present search."

"In the last two years, many new planets have been found, some
of these orbit stars similar to our sun," Anderson said. "So it
now looks like the galaxy is teeming with planets."

"Some of these planets will have the required temperature and
environment for life."

Cybernauts can go to

http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/

on the Internet to find out how they can join the effort.




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