A Conversation for The [email protected] Project

Good stuff, pity it's all going to go

Post 1


Below is something you might want to hear:

The future of [email protected], an Internet-based distributed computing experiment to find radio signals from intelligent alien life-forms, is in serious danger as academics behind the project face a funding crisis.
Australian scientists early next year were to be given a prominent role in the project to record data from radio telescopes and distribute it to 4 million PCs volunteered to analyse it. However that plan appears set to fail along with the entire project unless organisers can raise the sponsorship [email protected] needs to survive.

[email protected] chief scientist, University of California-based Dan Werthimer, has told SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Australia chairman, Dr Frank Stootman, that all work on [email protected] II, which would see radio data recording equipment installed at the Parkes telescope facility in NSW, had stopped until funding dollars to save the global experiment were found.

"I'm sorry we haven't been working on [email protected] II at Parkes," wrote Werthimer in an apologetic e-mail to his antipodean colleague. "Our funding is drying up and we are very uncertain about the future of [email protected] I and II".

Werthimer said that [email protected] engineers had finished building a multi-beam down-converter and data recorder for Parkes but said that the project's organisers had no money to follow through on the work.

Werthimer has laid the blame for the funding drought squarely at the feet of tough economic times.

"I'm working hard trying to raise more funds, but as you know, it's not an easy time to raise money.

"Sorry things are so uncertain", he wrote.

The CSIRO Australian Telescope National Facility's Time Assignment Committee has already approved the installation of the equipment at Parkes. Chairman of the allocation committee, Professor Ray Norris, said he was not aware [email protected] was in danger of running out of funds.

The revelation comes at a time when there are indications that relations between [email protected] organisers and their home institute, University of California Berkeley campus, are strained.

According to sources close to ATNF, Berkeley may not be hosting the site that distributes data with the best graces.

"I know that the Berkeley isn't happy that its site is getting hammered by all these people wanting data because it creates a lot of traffic that they have to pay for," said the source.

Dr Stootman said it would be a terrible loss for the Australian astronomers if [email protected] could no longer survive. The situation has compelled Stootman to send out a plea for financial support to help ensure the future the project.

"If there are philanthropists who think the project is worthwhile, I would, on behalf of SETI Australia and UC Berkeley, gratefully receive it," he said.

[email protected]'s current sponsor list includes Sun Microsystems, The Planetary Society, Fujifilm, IBM, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Quantum Corporation, Network Appliance and Informix.

US-based SETI scientists have held plans to host a data recording equipment at Parkes for over a year.

The Parkes facility is more powerful than that currently used to record the data at Arecibo, Peurto Rico and its addition would widen the search for extra-terrestrials to the Southern Hemisphere.

By harnessing the collective power of the PCs the project can approximate the work of supercomputers, vastly improving the probability of discovering intelligent extraterrestrial life.

- ZDNet Australia News & Technology

No, I'm not Australian, but I heard about this thanks to Daily Rotation.

Doesn't sound good!

Good stuff, pity it's all going to go

Post 2


Sorry sorry Sorry!!

What a cock up I just made...damn.

I was just fiddling about, ended up flippin' posting.

Sorry...Now I know.

Please don't complain, what it says is still relevant.

Don't go on, I am embarresed enough!!

Good stuff, pity it's all going to go

Post 3


Calm down, nothing bad has happened.smiley - smiley

To be honest, I've never been a friend of [email protected] It's wasted resources in my very personal opinion.

If you are looking for a good alternative that even has something real to publish, visit http://folding.stanford.edu

Funny that maybe it'll die due to funding problems ... wasn't the idea behind it that they got *gifts* from the public?smiley - winkeye

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Good stuff, pity it's all going to go

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