Astropulse FAQ


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What is Astropulse?

Astropulse is a new type of SETI. It expands on the original SETI@home, but does not replace it. The original SETI@home searches for narrowband signals, as does a conventional AM or FM radio. Astropulse, on the other hand, listens for broader-band, short-time pulses.

3/17/09 : Click here for some plots of signals detected by astropulse.

Click here for the science details of Astropulse.

Click here for a paper on Astropulse and other pulse searches at Berkeley. It's in pdf format.

What else might Astropulse find?

In addition to ET, Astropulse might detect other sources, such as rapidly rotating pulsars, exploding primordial black holes, or as-yet unknown astrophysical phenomena.

You can imagine that SETI@home is a search for a gold needle (ET) in a haystack. During the search for a gold needle, Astropulse might occasionally find a silver needle (a pulsar or black hole.) These silver needles have their own scientific value, even if they don't represent extraterrestrial communications.

How do I run Astropulse?

For Windows, Linux and Macs:

If you have already attached your computer to SETI@home and you use the default application, then you don't have to do anything. If your computer meets the minimum requirements, it should already be running Astropulse in addition to the original SETI@home. Your computer would have downloaded the Astropulse application when it asked for and received an Astropulse workunit.

I am running an optimized application. What files will I need for astropulse, for instance app_info.xml?

All necessary files are available here.

What are the minimum requirements for my computer to run astropulse?

The requirements are typically:

The listed minimum CPU is typical, but is not an absolute requirement. The actual calculation is made using your computer's floating point operations per second and the fraction of the time that your computer is on. If our server judges that your computer cannot complete an Astropulse workunit in 22.5 days (75% of the maximum 30 days), we won't send you Astropulse workunits.

The RAM and disk space requirements are overestimates; Astropulse actually uses significantly less.

How do I report bugs?

Report bugs by posting to the forums or by sending a private message to Joshua Von Korff's seti@home account.

How long does an Astropulse workunit take to run?

The run times compared to SETI@home enhanced are long (sometimes a week or more), but you should receive the same number of credits per second for astropulse as for seti@home. credits/time should be in line with those using the default enhanced MB application.

The initial deadline for Astropulse tasks will be 14 days. This will be kept under review by Dr. Eric Korpela and the Seti team. If the server believes that your computer is not fast enough to complete an Astropulse workunit within that deadline, you won't receive Astropulse workunits.

Long Term Debt

For those attached to more than one Project, due to the long processing times, you may run up a high Long Term Debt (LTD) on Seti. This can mean that Astropulse will need to run at High Priority (EDF or Panic mode) and then pay back time to the other project(s). Therefore BOINC will not download any more Seti tasks until LTD is lowered. You may want to consider increasing Seti's resource share if this bothers you.

Can I choose to run only Astropulse? Can I choose not to run Astropulse?

Yes. Log into your account, and look at your preferences. Select "SETI@home preferences" next to "Resource share and graphics". Scroll down and click on "Edit SETI@home preferences." Find "Run only the selected applications", and click so that whichever box you want is checked / unchecked.

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