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My 3 year anniversary with setiQuest

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sigblips
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Exactly one year ago I posted My 2 year anniversary with setiQuest forum comment. What have I accomplished during the past year and what are my plans for the future?

Accomplishments:

Failures:

  • I was unsuccessful at recruiting SETI Live users to join setiQuest. This I think was due to SETI Live and setiQuest members being non-intersecting sets. The setiQuest project requires a great deal of technical knowledge and ability while SETI Live requires none.
  • No forward traction on getting the SETI Institute to use my baudline signal analysis software. This is despite the addition of many new setiQuest data archive inspired features.  Why?
  • I failed at getting the ATA data to flow again. This still puzzles me. You'd think the SETI Institute scientists would be eager to look at fresh ATA data. I still don't know exactly what the impediment is. Does SRI forbid it? Is it technically not possible? Is Gerry just not interested? The money is gone, is this impossible with a zero budget? Has the AWS grant instability prevented progress? It could be a combination of all of those reasons.  I don't know.

Future:

  • We need to ask ourselves what is setiQuest? And what do we want it to be? The project's central hub of communication previously was the setiQuest forum but the information pipeline has shifted to Twitter and to the community IRC meetings. Is this good or bad? Are they optimal modes of communication?
  • The setiQuest project is broke, the money is gone, and all new donations are being diverted elsewhere.    What sort of SETI project is viable with a zero budget?
  • IMO the key to detecting SETI and the soul of the setiQuest project is data. Without the flow of data neither will be successful.

What are your thoughts?  Please comment.

Dave Robinson
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My Comments

Hi Sigblips

I thought I would wait a bit before responding to your thread, and your request for a response. I don't know what is wrong with Setiquest, but here we are with supposedly 10000+ members, and not a single comment back, other than this one.

I must admit I have the greatest respect for your tenacity; for like you I am now reaching my 3rd year of membership, but unlike you I have virtually given up on it ever reaching its potential. Whilst it is true I have a look at the site every day, I now expect it to be empty, with no new threads, except on Wednesday when there is always the transcription of the meeting that occurred the night before. Even that has now become simply an outline of what is going on in the SETILive development - nothing what so ever to do with Setiquest.

When I first heard of Setiquest 3 years ago, I imagined it would have effectively three parallel paths running through it, these being: -

  1. Seti Institute provided data
  2. Practical discussions of algorithms and DSP topics, and results
  3. Philosophic discussions regarding ET, and more general topics

Of the three it is only the first that actually requires any cash from the Institute. There seems no real reason that the other two paths shouldn't have continued - only they never really started. I guess the 10000+ members have got the quest they deserve; what's that old saying about reaping what you sow. A lively forum requires people to put them selves out and put fingers to keyboards; but alas that doesn't look like it is going to happen anytime soon. Meanwhile it looks like it will be left to you, me and 1 or 2 more regular contributors to give it the illusion that communication with E.T. is a possibility and that we are all really excited about it. Anyway I must get back to my new retirement hobby of designing embedded instrumentation design, at least the forums here seem to have some activity.

Meanwhile happy birthday

Dave Robinson

sigblips
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Thank you for the birthday

Thank you for the birthday wishes.

I agree that all the recent SETI Live talk in the weekly community IRC meetings hasn't helped the setiQuest mission. But integrating SETI Live into the meetings was important to keep the SETI Institute interested and critical to keep the meetings alive.  Can't have a meeting if no one shows up to talk with ...

You forgot from your parallel paths list:

4) SonATA open source development

This never lived up to its hoped for potential but it was one of the main setiQuest pillars.

I agree that money has played an important part in setiQuest's trajectory but I think you have it switched around. Things like forum discussion and open source code refereeing cost the SETI Institute money in the terms of time.  Those employees do get paid.  Providing ATA data, as I've proposed, doesn't cost the SETI Institute anything.  I've offered to write the code and configure the system to do this. The SETI Institute has a large pile of unused donated Dell servers sitting around and I'd require the use of one of those.  The ATA has a small bandwidth pipe to the Internet but I'm sure there is plenty of unused capacity.  Even a non-real-time trickle of ATA data is more than we have now.  The only thing missing is the SETI Institute's desire to allow this to happen.

herpy
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How long does it take to

How long does it take to convert and send raw data from the ata to the data archive format?

How much money would it cost to upgrade their Internet? I remember you said the line is there it just isn't on or something, so it can't be millions of dollars can it? I kinda stopped trying to learn how to use the data when it seemed like there would never be any new data and going over really old data seemed to be pointless especially without the multi beam data.

Is there an official we will never turn the data back on statement yet?

If they ever decide to kill the data archive could someone at least give a warning so I can download some of it before it gets taken down?

It is getting a little awkward reading your posts because you can't seem to get a straight answer on simple questions. You haven't seen anyone creeping around the seti HQ whose knees bend the wrong way have you?

sigblips
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"How long does it take to

"How long does it take to convert and send raw data from the ata to the data archive format?"

Very quickly, data conversion is not CPU bound.  It is an IO bound problem limited by disk and network speeds.

 

"How much money would it cost to upgrade their Internet?"

There are rumors of dark fiber up at the ATA. You'd have to ask a telco what the costs are to light it up and operate it.  My guess for 10 GbE would be a couple thousand for the optical switch/router, and a couple thousand a month to operate. Maybe less since the Internet would be bypassed with the AWS Direct Connect feature (Hat Creek, CA --> Oregon).

 

"Is there an official we will never turn the data back on statement yet?"

This IRC chat is the closest to a no more data statement.  I doubt they'll ever say never, why rule anything out?  I've been trying and failing to get the data turned on for the past 2 years.  At this point it seems unlikely.  Lack of interest, other priorities, ...

 

"If they ever decide to kill the data archive could someone at least give a warning so I can download some of it before it gets taken down?"

There is a desire within the SETI Institute to keep the setiQuest data archive on-line as an Internet resource. How future funding and resources will affect this is unknown.  There are plans of making it a permanent resource.

 

"It is getting a little awkward reading your posts because you can't seem to get a straight answer on simple questions.

Yes, it is frustrating.  

 

You haven't seen anyone creeping around the seti HQ whose knees bend the wrong way have you?"

No backward bending knees but I have seen a few people at the SETI Institute with pointy ears and antennae. (:

sigblips
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Here is an ATA hardware

Here is an ATA hardware update:

  • The unused Dell servers don't have a 10 GbE card.
  • The current 10 GbE switch doesn't properly support UDP multicast

This unfortunately means that my proposed data collection solution cannot run at the same time SonATA is observing. Some new hardware would be required and it is fairly expensive.  This would be a great donation opportunity for a 10 GbE network switch / router company.  Contact the SETI Institute if you're interested, I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.

janebird
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More clarification: The

More clarification:
The unused Dell servers do have 10 GbE cards. They don't have cables and transcievers to connnect to a switch. The current switches support UDP multicast, but they do not have enough 10 GbE ports to support all the unused servers. It is  the beamformer software that does not support UDP multicast.