Searching for E.T. with FPGAs

Dan Werthimer, SETI and University of California Berkeley

What is the possibility of other intelligent life in the universe? Can we detect radio, infrared, or visible light signals from alien civilizations? Current and future projects searching for such signals, including the new $100-million Breakthrough Prize Foundation Listen project, may provide an answer. Dan Werthimer will describe plans for future searches and show how new technologies, are revolutionizing the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Dan will also describe Berkeley’s SETI@home project, which analyzes data from the world’s largest radio telescopes using desktop computers and cell phones from millions of volunteers, forming one of Earth’s most powerful supercomputers. Dan will discuss next generation radio telescopes, such as the Square Kilometer Array, that are composed of hundreds to thousands of smaller telescopes; these large arrays require peta-ops per second of real time processing to combine telescope signals, generate spectra-images, and search for radio signals from extraterresrial civilizations. Dan will describe these telescopes, their instrumentation, and the motivation for peta-op/sec FPGA systems. Open source hardware, software, libraries, tools, reference designs and video training are available at http://casper.berkeley.edu