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Title    GPU Cryptomining Hurting SETI and Other Astronomy Projects
Date    Thursday February 15 2018, @04:43PM
Author    Fnord666
Topic   
from the just-nod-if-you-can-hear-me dept.
https://soylentnews.org/article.pl?sid=18/02/15/1330227

takyon writes:

Crypto-currency craze 'hinders search for alien life'

Scientists listening out for broadcasts by extra-terrestrials are struggling to get the computer hardware they need, thanks to the crypto-currency mining craze, a radio-astronomer has said.

Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) researchers want to expand operations at two observatories. However, they have found that key computer chips are in short supply. "We'd like to use the latest GPUs [graphics processing units]... and we can't get 'em," said Dan Werthimer.

Demand for GPUs has soared recently thanks to crypto-currency mining. "That's limiting our search for extra-terrestrials, to try to answer the question, 'Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?'," Dr Werthimer told the BBC.

[...] Other radio-astronomers have been affected. A group looking for evidence of the earliest stars in the universe was recently shocked to see that the cost of the GPUs it wanted had doubled.

[...] Prof [Aaron] Parsons' radio telescope, the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array (Hera), is an American, British and South African project located in South Africa's western plains. [...] Three months ago, the Hera team had budgeted for a set of GPUs that cost around $500 (£360) - the price has since doubled to $1,000.

"We'll be able to weather it but it is coming out of our contingency budget." added Prof Parsons. "We're buying a lot of these things, it's going to end up costing about $32,000 extra."

When the inevitable flood of cheap GPUs onto the market happens, will it be a boon to science?


Original Submission

Links

  1. "takyon" - https://soylentnews.org/~takyon/
  2. "Crypto-currency craze 'hinders search for alien life'" - http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43056744
  3. "the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array (Hera)" - https://www.ska.ac.za/science-engineering/hera/
  4. "Original Submission" - https://soylentnews.org/submit.pl?op=viewsub&subid=24867

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printed from SoylentNews, GPU Cryptomining Hurting SETI and Other Astronomy Projects on 2024-06-16 03:27:42