SETI@home gets a guy fired …

And there may be criminal charges.  You and I know that SETI@home is a screen saver that is one of the earliest and most successful examples of grid computing.  It essentially aims to do fast Fourier transforms on masses of radio telescope data to search for non-random signals which have a possibility of being an intelligent broadcast.  Not a bad idea.  We sent out such broadcasts, after all, hoping that someone out there might be doing something along the same lines.  I mean if you’re going to use a screen saver anyway, instead of turning the things off at night, why not crunch some data?  

Turns out the only issue is the fact that it was SETI. 

“We support educational research and certainly would have supported cancer research,” said Higley superintendent Denise Birdwell. “However, as an educational institution we do not support the search for E.T.”

Sounds a little parochial, doesn’t it?  

Alien-Hunting School Employee Resigns – Phoenix News Story – KPHO Phoenix

Birdwell held a news conference Monday, where she stated that the former technology supervisor downloaded a University of California Berkeley program known as SETI@home onto more than 5000 district computers.

The program seeks out people around the world to volunteer their home computers to scan data in the search for extra terrestrial intelligence.

Published in: on December 2, 2009 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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