Using Nebula for SERENDIP

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Profile David Anderson
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Message 1857033 - Posted: 22 Mar 2017, 21:00:00 UTC
Last modified: 22 Mar 2017, 21:01:38 UTC

SERENDIP is a radio SETI project that complements SETI@home:

  • SERENDIP covers a much wider frequency range: 320 MHz, compared to SETI@home's 2.5 MHz.
  • SERENDIP detects only one type of signal (spikes) and at one FFT length (128K; 0.8 Hz resolution); SETI@home detects 4 other signal types, at 13 different frequency resolutions.
  • SERENDIP doesn't use volunteer computing; the signal detection is done using a special-purpose supercomputer, based on GPUs and FPGAs, at the telescope.


SERENDIP uses the same data source as SETI@home (Arecibo). In addition, SERENDIP systems are operating at the Green Bank and Parkes observatories.

SERENDIP predates SETI@home by many years. It has its own back-end processing system, called "Siren", that removes RFI and identifies persistent signals. In the past year, Vishal Gajjar (a post-doc here at UCB) has been working to update Siren and use it to analyze data from the current generation of SERENDIP instruments (SERENDIP 6).

There's a big overlap between Nebula and Siren; they do more or less the same thing. For the most part Nebula is faster and has more advanced algorithms, although Vishal has developed some algorithms for detecting broadband RFI (e.g. lightning and aviation radar) that are needed for SERENDIP data but not SETI@home.

We plan to merge Nebula and Siren (e.g. to add Vishal's broadband algorithm to Nebula) and to use Nebula as a back end for both SETI@home and SERENDIP. I started working on this last week, with the initial goal of processing a subset of SERENDIP data, namely the data from Arecibo's ALFA receiver from 2015 to present.


  • I wrote a program that reads SERENDIP "hits" (its term for spikes) and converts them to the format of DB dumps of SETI@home's spike table.
  • I revised all of the Nebula programs and scripts to work with SERENDIP data. I had to revise the data structures for RFI removal to reflect the much larger frequency range.
  • I moved everything to Atlas and ran the Nebula pipeline, including scoring 1000 pixels. Results are here. Waterfall plots will work after I copy the RFI-cleaned data back to UCB, which will take a day or two. Also I'll finish scoring all the pixels.


Long-term plans include:


  • Process other SERENDIP datasets (GBT, Parkes), individually and possibly in combination.
  • Process SERENDIP, SETI@home, and possibly Breakthrough Listen data together.

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Message 1857054 - Posted: 22 Mar 2017, 21:50:36 UTC - in response to Message 1857033.  

Dr. Anderson you are having way too much fun, I appreciate all your good work.
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Sirius B
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Message 1857092 - Posted: 22 Mar 2017, 23:04:52 UTC

Considering the database issues that Seti endure, what will the infrastructure for the data from all 3 projects?
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Message 1857150 - Posted: 23 Mar 2017, 2:19:33 UTC

A concern of mine, as was mentioned in the start of this topic, is that we don't wear out our welcome..
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Message 1857389 - Posted: 24 Mar 2017, 10:10:12 UTC - in response to Message 1857033.  

Are there any plans to include Optical SETI data with the pixel information?
It would be great to have a very broad spectrum associated with each sky coordinate pixel. Obviously, a pixel would become very interesting if it scored highly for SETI, SETENDIP and OSETI.
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Message 1858410 - Posted: 30 Mar 2017, 8:38:36 UTC - in response to Message 1857054.  

Dr. Anderson you are having way too much fun, I appreciate all your good work.


Thanks. I am indeed having lots of fun. This project involves my 2 favorite things: designing systems, and writing code.
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Message 1858412 - Posted: 30 Mar 2017, 8:43:40 UTC - in response to Message 1857150.  

A concern of mine, as was mentioned in the start of this topic, is that we don't wear out our welcome..


I'm very aware of this, and try to tread as lightly as possible on Atlas.
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Message boards : Nebula : Using Nebula for SERENDIP


 
©2017 University of California
 
SETI@home and Astropulse are funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and donations from SETI@home volunteers. AstroPulse is funded in part by the NSF through grant AST-0307956.