How has the science changed in the last 10 years?

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Message 1887843 - Posted: 4 Sep 2017, 7:47:39 UTC

It has been a decade since I last crunched SETI@home via BOINC. How much has the science changed in the last 10 years? I saw the Breakthrough project on the news and wondered if this meant SETI@home was getting work from some new telescopes other than the original Arecibo.

Does SETI@home now have work from other telescopes, if so which ones and how often are work units sent out?

Many thanks
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rob smithProject Donor
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Message 1887846 - Posted: 4 Sep 2017, 8:19:54 UTC

SETI@Home does get work from (at least) one other telescope. It comes through to us in the same way as the Arecibo data, but is identified by the file name starting "blc" instead of a date (Aercibo multibeam) or "ap" (Arecibo astropulse).
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Message 1887850 - Posted: 4 Sep 2017, 8:36:08 UTC

We now get work from the Green Bank Telescope. Workunits beginning blc stand for Break through Listen. The word guppi is also in the workunit name which stands for Greenbank Ultimate Pulsar Processing Instrument.
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Message 1887856 - Posted: 4 Sep 2017, 9:33:40 UTC

Great news, thanks for the confirmation that we get work units from Green Bank telescope. Does the SETI@home app do exactly the same analysis on these work units as it does for those from Arecibo or does it do some different computations?
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rob smithProject Donor
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Message 1887861 - Posted: 4 Sep 2017, 10:24:09 UTC

Exactly the same application is used for both Arecibo & GBT data
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Message 1887884 - Posted: 4 Sep 2017, 16:05:17 UTC

Rob is correct, the same algorithms are used for both sources of data.

In terms of how the science has changed in the last ten years, I think the answer is the Nebula project. The original idea was to set up a Nitpicker machine to sift the data collected, and pick out results worthy of re-examining. Then send these out again with an enhanced Algorithm. In the event they decided to employ a test Nitpicker in real time, which promptly fell over with the workload.

It became clear that the project would have needed $35-40K to fund such a m/c and staff which it didn't have. However DA negotiated with Einstein@home to use their Atlas Computer cluster for the back end processing, the front end processing remaining much as it is.

That is still ongoing and we await to hear further.
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Message 1887889 - Posted: 4 Sep 2017, 17:03:04 UTC

Adding to Chris' comment about post-processing (Nebula), there has been one additional algorithm introduced into the multibeam process chain "Auto-correlation". This is a new way of looking for peaks/spikes that in certain circumstances is more discriminating than the old FFT based techniques
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Message 1887890 - Posted: 4 Sep 2017, 17:15:46 UTC

Thanks Rob. Hopefully that has added to David's confidence in an ongoing project.
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Message 1887895 - Posted: 4 Sep 2017, 18:48:08 UTC
Last modified: 4 Sep 2017, 18:51:44 UTC

Many thanks for all the replies. I have now seen 2 or 3 blc work units.

One of the reasons I stopped 10 years ago was that only Arecibo was used and things got a little repetitive.

p.s. what does it mean when the work unit has vlar at the end? Just been sent loads of 'em and estimated time to process is much, much longer than other work units.
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Message 1887915 - Posted: 4 Sep 2017, 21:11:56 UTC

Very Low Angle Range - during the scan the telescope is normally moving quite slowly, sometimes it is moving VERY slowly, normally this is to look at a particular point in the sky. Very often the processing of them will take longer than a "normal" task - as you have discovered.
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Message 1887964 - Posted: 5 Sep 2017, 6:55:33 UTC

GPU's process VLAR's very slowly, CPU's fare better. I believe there are apps that will re-allocate the VLAR work to the CPU. I'm not going down that route though, I take what I get.
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Message 1888064 - Posted: 6 Sep 2017, 5:08:16 UTC - in response to Message 1887964.  

On a related note, I get AstroPulse workunits only very rarely. Are you seeing the same thing (or is my computer deemed too old to handle them)?
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Message 1888067 - Posted: 6 Sep 2017, 5:22:10 UTC

Astropulse (AP) tasks are very rare. Mainly because the Arecibo data we are getting is old and has most of it already been processed using the the AP application. Currently there are no AP splitters capable of working on the BLP data. When they get a few AP splitters capable of working with the BLP data I would expect to see APs coming out, and the BLP data we have already processed being re-split to allow us to process using the AP application.
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Message 1888168 - Posted: 6 Sep 2017, 18:54:26 UTC
Last modified: 6 Sep 2017, 19:24:51 UTC

I guess the thing that has changed most for me from ten years ago is the speed of home PCs. At my peak ten years ago my best day according to BOINC stats was 1,270 credits and that was using several PCs. Today it is showing my RAC at nearly three times that value and that is using just one PC.

I wonder what all the projects make of all this extra processing time, there does not seem to be that many new projects and a few old favourites have disappeared so must be lots more processing power available to the projects.
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Message 1888176 - Posted: 6 Sep 2017, 19:34:32 UTC

In a similar vein it took me about two and half years to get to my first million - now it's taking me about two and half days to do a million.
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Message boards : SETI@home Science : How has the science changed in the last 10 years?


 
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