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SETI@home in the yahoo news!

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  • SETI@home in the yahoo news!

    Global Extraterrestrial Hunt to Revisit Old Signals
    Tue Mar 11, 9:22 AM ET Add Science - to My Yahoo!

    By Tariq Malik
    Staff Writer,

    Researchers spearheading a worldwide effort to find ET, or anyone else out in space besides us humans, plan to revisit a group of their most likely candidate radio signals using the world's largest radio telescope.

    The SETI@home program, a distributed computing effort that uses the personal computers of millions of volunteers to examine radio signal data, is planning a stellar countdown to check the extraterrestrial-potential of up to 150 radio signals detected with the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

    The signal batch is cream of a candidate crop of five billion radio observations pulled from the SETI@home network, which program organizers will recheck to see if they are strong enough to be an extraterrestrial communiqué, repeating and emanating from portions of sky bearing sun-like stars and planets.

    "Our chances right now [of finding something] are small," said SETI@home chief scientist Dan Werthimer in a telephone interview. "But you have to plan for success."

    The Arecibo Observatory will work for three and a half days, starting March 18, to revisit the candidate signals identified by SETI@home users. In addition to onsite analysis, each of the new observations will also be fed into the global program for a more detailed examination, Werthimer said.

    Launched in May 1999, SETI@home uses the computers of four million astronomy buffs in 226 countries. Together they act as a supercomputer, collectively sifting through the 35 terabytes of raw data collected by the 1,000-foot (305-meter) Arecibo dish and reporting the results to the program headquarters at the UC Berkeley. One terabyte is about the equivalent of 231 million pages of typed text, but SETI@home volunteers received a fraction of that - 350 kilobytes - at a time to examine.

    Volunteers download a screensaver-like program that examines Arecibo radio observations while the computer user is away. Once the analysis is complete, varying from a few hours to a few days depending on the computing power of each machine, the program alerts the user and sends the examined material to SETI@home researchers via the Internet.

    "It was always the idea to revisit observations once the first analysis was complete," said Louis Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society, SETI@home's founding and primary sponsor. "The question is, are these signals really good enough? That's still an unknown, and it's what this next phase of the program is going to tell us."

    SETI@home is a separate extraterrestrial search effort from the SETI Institute, a group that pursues several scientific and education projects aimed at the discovering intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. has a partnership with the SETI Institute.

  • #2
    Soz but that's a bit old and extremely brief plus I wouldn't be surprised if a bit of copy 'n' paste from SETI's actual page site went on there. :(