Posts by Eric Korpela

1) Message boards : News : RIP Frank Drake (Message 2106316)
Posted 4 Sep 2022 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
We are sad to report that SETI pioneer and originator of the Drake Equation passed away on September 2nd. Frank at the age of 92. Frank conducted the first SETI experiments capable of detecting radio signals at nearby stars distances, He continued to be a large influence on the field into his 90s.

Dan Werthimer had this to say:
If it weren't for Frank, I'd be filthy rich. When the first microcomputer chips came out in the early 70's I joined the Homebrew Computer Club, along with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Everybody in Homebrew became ultra-rich, except me.

While other homebrewers were designing and selling the first home computers, I spent my time figuring out how to utilize the first computer chips for SETI experiments, thanks to Frank. I didn't become rich, but instead I was inspired by Frank to work on some of the most fundamental questions we have as humans. He taught me so much - I was incredibly fortunate to work with Frank on many SETI experiments for 45 years. Frank's insights led to optical SETI, SETI@home, and most recently, while in his 90's, Frank helped pioneer PANOSETI.

Frank was a wonderful friend, mentor, and brilliant collaborator. If Earthlings ever find ET, we'll have Frank to thank.
2) Message boards : News : Another bittersweet milestone. (Message 2096879)
Posted 31 Mar 2022 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
We're cleaning out our lab at Space Sciences, and saying goodbye to a lot of history.
3) Message boards : SETI@home Staff Blog : Another Bittersweet Milestone (Message 2096776)
Posted 30 Mar 2022 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
Eras don't end in a day, they slowly fade away. Yesterday marked another bittersweet milestone in SETI@home history. We cleaned out the lab. That meant sending the Sun Enterprise series servers that handled SETI@home's databases and web traffic down to the university's Excess and Salvage department. Here they are sitting in the hallway waiting to go.

We had hoped they would end up in a museum somewhere, but unfortunately interest in SETI@home's hardware has faded even faster than the project did.

What we have not (yet) discarded are a couple thousand DLT tapes containing the raw data from the first 6 years of SETI@home. We would like to have the data transferred to a more accessible medium, but we no longer have a functioning DLT IV tape drive, or the funding to pay for a commercial data recovery service. As the group's presence at the Space Science Lab shrinks, those tapes will probably also be discarded as well.

Times change and the world moves on.
4) Message boards : News : Bryon Leigh Hatch and Arecibo have passed on. (Message 2062762)
Posted 2 Dec 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
We got two pieces of really bad news yesterday. Byron Leigh Hatch, founder of the Carl Sagan team, all around smart and thoughtful guy, and a setizen since shortly after SETI@home began in 1999, passed away in August. There is a thread for leaving remembrances here. He will be missed.

And, of course, we were informed of the collapse of the elevated structure at Arecibo. It was clear after the second cable broke, the structure would come down soon. As much as we were unhappy that the repair efforts had to be abandoned because of the danger, it's clear now that it was the right call. It's our hope that we will find national support for building new scientific facilities on Puerto Rico in the near future.
5) Message boards : News : Final data is in the splitter queue. (Message 2042379)
Posted 1 Apr 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
The last chunk of new SETI@home work has gone out. There's still a little astropulse to be split when disk space clears. Beyond that, there's only resends when validation fails.

Thanks for staying 'til the end.
6) Message boards : News : Final data is in the splitter queue. (Message 2042328)
Posted 1 Apr 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
Both the SETI@home and Astropulse splitters are running very slowly because our workunit storage is full (which is because the assimilator is running so far behind). So you may get to enjoy an occasional work unit today.
7) Message boards : News : Final data is in the splitter queue. (Message 2042179)
Posted 1 Apr 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
We will have to replace the RAC>1 requirement with a total credit requirement. We may also have to come up with an endorsement process to allow new users.
8) Message boards : News : Final data is in the splitter queue. (Message 2042046)
Posted 31 Mar 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
Beta will be shutting down as well, until we have something for it to do.
9) Message boards : News : Final data is in the splitter queue. (Message 2042009)
Posted 31 Mar 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
As promised, we've stopped the process that puts new data into the queue today. Data distribution will continue until the files shown on the status pages are done. We'll be accepting results and resending results that didn't validate for a while.
10) Message boards : Number crunching : The Server Issues / Outages Thread - Panic Mode On! (119) (Message 2041837)
Posted 31 Mar 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
I think I found the issue in a script that was supposed to trigger a resend on results unlikely to be returned. I turned the script off, so it should stop happening.

You didn't think this would go smoothly, did you?
11) Message boards : News : Jim_S has passed away. (Message 2041224)
Posted 29 Mar 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
We are saddened to report that former moderator and long-term friend of SETI@home Jim Scott passed away unexpectedly this morning. Angela has started a thread where people can post their memories of Jim and offer condolences.
12) Message boards : News : New SETI Perspectives: "How did life begin on Earth and elsewhere?" (Message 2038994)
Posted 19 Mar 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
Richard Lawn has posted a new SETI Perspective entitled How did life begin on Earth and elsewhere?.
13) Message boards : SETI@home Staff Blog : This hurts me as much as it hurts you. (Message 2035328)
Posted 3 Mar 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
By now you've heard that we will be shutting down work distribution at the end of March and putting the SETI@home servers into a hibernation state. I'd imagine that there are some emotional responses. I'm certainly going through the stages of grief, even though I'm hoping that it won't be a permanent state.

The unemotional analysis is that it's always been a matter of resources. Not only money, but time and personnel. We've been aware from the beginning that the time we spent keeping the project up and running was time we weren't working on post-processing. Our fundraising goals, what we needed to do everything simultaneously without falling behind, was always around $1M per year. We never came close. And without that level of resources, decades of computer time weren't really resulting in candidate lists that we could reobserve. The last 18 months we've been devoting more of our time to the post-processing, but our remaining resources were running out faster than our science results were arriving. And that's what really prompted this decision, the fear that we would run out of resources before we got our results.

Even then, it's hard to put a halt to a process that you gave 20 years of your life. I certainly haven't achieved everything I wanted to with SETI@home. I've still got my plans for SETI@home version 10, there was just never time to implement them. Maybe when we've finished our results papers I'll dust them off, assuming I can find the resources.

I know some of you are upset that you donated only to see the public participation part of the project end. If you donated for the disk array, we'll still need that. Jeff is in the process of assembling it. If you gave money in the annual drive, we'll have bills to pay all the way to the end (including page charges for the papers).

As part of my grieving process, I'm planning to post more frequently. That's not hard since my last post was 3.5 years ago.
14) Message boards : News : Low available work. (Message 2028671)
Posted 20 Jan 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
Thanks for the offers of RAM. Unfortunately the database machines are maxed out for RAM at this point.

We'll be doing a full duration outage to reorganize both database machines tomorrow. The good news is that we've gotten to our target of a 20% reduction in the size of the result table. That means we'll be generating work at the normal rate today.
15) Message boards : News : Low available work. (Message 2028359)
Posted 18 Jan 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
For a couple of reasons, the result table has grown to the point where it no longer fits in main memory. That has been slowing the validators and assimilators, which is causing the result table to grow further.

We'd like to get it down to a manageable size before our Tuesday outage. To that end we are throttling work generation to a rate at which the table size is shrinking. We hope that this rate will increase as the table gets smaller.

So for the next few days work will be hard to come by (but not zero).
16) Message boards : Number crunching : Flakey AMD/ATI GPUs, including RX 5700 XT, Cross Validating, polluting the Database (Message 2027879)
Posted 16 Jan 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
Got two invalids on RX 5700 with 8.24 beta, in case it is relevant


The first result is missing a pulse, the second one has several too many. That's not nearly as bad as what was happening before. Pulse finding is one of the more stressful portions of the code.
17) Message boards : Number crunching : Flakey AMD/ATI GPUs, including RX 5700 XT, Cross Validating, polluting the Database (Message 2027496)
Posted 12 Jan 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
So far, so good:

1219 results have been through the validator
1158 (95%) have validated
35 (2.9%) are inconclusive and may validate later
26 (2.1%) are errors, but don't appear to be computation errors.

If things continue this way I will probably put the new app versions on the main projects tomorrow or tuesday.
18) Message boards : Number crunching : Flakey AMD/ATI GPUs, including RX 5700 XT, Cross Validating, polluting the Database (Message 2027409)
Posted 12 Jan 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
Of course, the day I can't be near the computer is the day the beta splitter freezes. I'm copying in new data and unfreezing it.
19) Message boards : Number crunching : Flakey AMD/ATI GPUs, including RX 5700 XT, Cross Validating, polluting the Database (Message 2027250)
Posted 11 Jan 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
Now have 3 validated, but not a wide variety of hardware yet...

https://setiweb.ssl.berkeley.edu/beta/workunit.php?wuid=12322527
https://setiweb.ssl.berkeley.edu/beta/workunit.php?wuid=12322590
https://setiweb.ssl.berkeley.edu/beta/workunit.php?wuid=12322707

222 results have gone out so far with the new app versions, so we'll have better statistics tomorrow.
20) Message boards : Number crunching : Flakey AMD/ATI GPUs, including RX 5700 XT, Cross Validating, polluting the Database (Message 2027247)
Posted 11 Jan 2020 by Eric Korpela Project Donor
Post:
I think I've fixed that problem, so the 8.22s should no longer be sent.

So far 4 results have come back. One has been through the validator and it validated successfully.


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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.