theSkyNet is live and functioning – and unlike in The Terminator films, this time it is here to help.
theSkyNet project, sponsored by the Government of Western Australia and developed by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) will allow members of the public to contribute their spare computing power to the processing of radio astronomy data.
ICRAR Director, Professor Peter Quinn, said theSkyNet provides a computing resource that raises awareness of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project and complements the primary data processing work of supercomputing facilities such as the Pawsey Centre.
Personal desktop computers have ‘spare’ computing power available to them nearly all of the time and through theSkyNet project members of the general public can contribute this unused processing power to the crunching of radio astronomy data. By creating a network of thousands of computers in this way, it becomes possible to simulate a single very powerful machine capable of doing real and relevant scientific research.
Radio astronomy creates vast amount of data and ICRAR Outreach Manager, Pete Wheeler, says joining theSkyNet allows participants to play a major part in the discovery of our universe. In the future, theSkyNet might even complement the work of the Pawsey Centre in processing data from the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder or ASKAP.
theSkyNet was launched on the 9th of September and already has 5,000 public members making an average of 4,500 contributions at any given moment. It has been featured both on the BBC and on Discovery News with more than 50,000 people from all over the world visiting the projects website since it was launched.
For more information or to participate in this exciting new project visit www.theskynet.org.