You computer could help find pulsars.

Astro software and whatever hardware

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You computer could help find pulsars.

Post by Deimos »

I’m new to the forum and have just noticed this area.
One thing I’ve started running recently is the background software that uses your computer un-used processing power to search fro pulsars from gravity wave data. The analysis of gravity wave data is quite computationally intensive and thus, on research budgets organisations cannot afford the massive computers necessary. Instead they take a distributed approach whereby loads of people run small background programs that use your processor at low priority and thus does not disrupt what you are doing.

You run the background process which as necessary connects to the internet, collects data, processed it, re-connects to send in the results and collect more data to analyse, etc. Its only practical if you leave your computer on most of the time and in practice if you have an ADSL connection.

The data uploads and downloads are not large (I’ve not noticed them at all). Similarly the disk and memory use in minimal and I’ve not noticed any impact on my modest/low end computer. Also has a nice screen saver that shows the celestial sphere (from the outside, the constellations and pulsars found through electromagnetic sensors (rather than gravity wave sensors). It also shows the 3 gravity wave sensors and the area of sky your computer is currently searching.

I think it’s a good idea and would encourage others to have a look at it. Do ask me any questions but I’m only a user who has been running it for a few weeks – not involved with the science at all.

Details, download, etc at


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Location: Cleveland, UK

Post by Apollo »

Yes, quite,
Thanks for the mention Deimos. I haven't participated in this project as yet.

This is the BOINC software that runs other projects including SETI.


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