Scientists listen for broadcasts from extra-terrestrials to fight, the computer hardware you need, has said that thanks to the crypto-currency-mining mania, a radio-astronomer.
Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) intends to expand operations at the two observatories.
It has been found, however, that the most important computer chips are in short supply.
“We would like to with the latest GPUs [graphics processing Unit]… and we can’t get ’em,” said Dan Werthimer.
The demand for GPUs is increased recently thanks to the crypto-currency mining.
“This is what try our search for extra-terrestrials, to answer the question” Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?’,” Dr. Werthimer told the BBC.
“This is a new problem, it happens only on orders, to make the we have tried in the last couple of months.”
Mining a currency such as Bitcoin or Ethereum includes the connection of computers to a global network and work with them to solve complex mathematical puzzles.
In this part of the process of validation of transactions from people who the currency.
As a reward for this work, the miners of a small crypto-currency, get the payment, so that it may be profitable.
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GPUs are high-performance chips, and not only for the power supply-video games – they can be set, the Bitcoin miners, radio-astronomers or other interested parties in the processing of large amounts of data for certain applications.
“In the case of Seti, we don’t want to consider how many frequency channels as we can, because we know what frequency ET will be broadcasting, and we are looking for many different signal types- is it AM or FM, what is the use of the communication?”, Dr. Werthimer explained, who is a senior scientist at the Berkeley Seti research center.
“That takes a lot of computing power.”
He added that some of the telescopes, Seti is about 100 GPUs crunching data from large-has listen-arrays.
These arrays can pick up thrown were the weakest frequencies in our solar system from elsewhere in the universe – often from natural phenomena such as collapsing stars.
Seti is currently trying to improve their ability to analyze such data at two observatories in Green Bank in West Virginia and Parkes in Australia.
But the Institute has been taken by the GPU shortage.
“We have the money, we have to contact the supplier and they say, ‘we have been easy on you,” said Dr. Werthimer.
Earlier this year, there were reports that video games have been made were directed by a sudden increase in the cost of the GPUs, in particular thanks to an increase in mining, which can be done, with chips, to consumers.
At the time, said the big chip-maker Nvidia, that retailers should take precautions to ensure that gamers demands were met.
Other radio astronomers have been affected.
A group in search of evidence for the earliest stars in the universe was recently shocked to learn that the cost of the GPUs would have it, had doubled.
“We were in the process of expanding our telescope – we have a grant from the National Science Foundation to do here in the United States,” said Aaron Parsons at the University of California in Berkeley.
Prof Parsons’ radio telescope array, the hydrogen-the era of Reionization Array (Hera) project, is a US-American, British, and South African venture established in South Africa in the Western plains.
It is designed to hear low-frequency radio waves emitted by the reionising hydrogen gas that pervaded the universe before the first stars and galaxies formed.
GPUs are required to bring data together from Hera ‘ s a lot of small radio telescopes – these syntheses is a much larger Arrays, offers a particularly wide field of vision, peering into the universe.
Three months ago, the Hera team, the cost is about $500 ($360) had been scheduled for a series of GPUs, the price has doubled since then to $1,000.
“We will be able to have the weather, but it is from our contingency budget.” added Prof Parsons.
“We buy a lot of these things, it comes to an end cost of about $32,000 extra.”
He also said he was concerned that the future work could also be stopped in their tracks, should worsen the GPU defect.Mining meteoric rise
Thanks in part to a recent increase in the price of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, mining of crypto-currencies never been so popular.
While Bitcoin miners are largely shifted to specialized “Asic” chips were designed from the ground up, to support mining, it is still possible to use the GPUs on the Ethereum mining network, to lucrative ends, according to cyber security expert Matthew Hickey in the Hacker house.
“[You can] use GPUs effectively a small profit, you are not to make millions, but if you have 12-or 24-GPUs together, they make back the cost in six months,” he told the BBC.
GPUs are versatile, he added, and pointed out that cyber-security experts sometimes you for the password-cracking experiments, in which Computer many millions of attempts to break into a system.
But Mr Hickey also noted that the GPUs are now being sold on sites like Ebay at inflated prices.
“It is always difficult to find suppliers and the cards,” he said.
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