Sunday, September 12, 2010

setiQuest – LGM for the Masses

As an indepen-dent researcher, I’m normally not in close affiliation with the “inner circle” of the world-class science projects that have caught my interest over the years. As a result it is especially difficult to siphon off any raw data for use with data analysis efforts – an area which is my forte. Not anymore with SETI I’m happy to report!

I’ve been a participating member of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project for years, but only as one of the thousands of volunteers worldwide who run the SETI@HOME screen saver that processes radio telescope data using a fixed algorithm embedded in BOINC software you can download for free.

Now, things are changing in the direction of much more openness. setiQuest.org plans to make available to everyone the data collected from the SETI telescopes, the software they use to looked for signals, and the algorithms that the software is based on. Now, software developers and algorithm enthusiasts can use the software and algorithms to hunt for signals using their own insights and with custom changes to software and signal algorithms.

Now, things are changing in the direction of much more openness. setiQuest.org plans to make available to everyone the data collected from the SETI telescopes, the software they use to looked for signals, and the algorithms that the software is based on. Now, software developers and algorithm enthusiasts can use the software and algorithms to hunt for signals using their own insights and with custom changes to software and signal algorithms.

setiQuest announced the availability of data in the second quarter of 2010. Open sourcing of software and algorithms will take place in phases, starting in the third quarter of 2010. The Physics Groupie plans to focus on new algorithm development using evolutionary algorithms.

So as new data is collected from the SETI’s Allen Telescope Array, between 100 and 200 terabytes daily, and with an expanded openness, I’m very much looking forward to contributing to a significant scientific project in a meaningful way – maybe even find some LGM (little green men). How about you?

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