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Space Science

First Pulsar Discovery By an @Home Project 70

pq writes "In a paper published today (abstract) in Science, astronomers are reporting the discovery of a radio pulsar in data acquired at the world's largest radio telescope and analyzed by hundreds of thousands of volunteers in 192 countries for the Einstein@Home project. This is the first scientific discovery by a distributed computing project, and specific credit is being given to Chris and Helen Colvin of Ames, Iowa, and Daniel Gebhardt of Germany." The claim that this is the first discovery to be made through distributed computing is hard to swallow; there are quite a few distributed projects out there, several of which have reported positive results, such as the discovery of the 47th known Mersenne number.
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First Pulsar Discovery By an @Home Project

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  • Space (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cygnwolf ( 601176 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @05:08PM (#33233074)
    Perhaps they accidentally their claim and meant to say that it's the first stellar discovery by distributed computing? I'm fairly confident SETI@home hasn't discovered anything conclusive yet....
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @05:19PM (#33233190) Homepage

    Is it really sad that distributed computing is so commonplace that it's resulting in discoveries in fields as disperse as biochemistry, abstract mathematics, and astronomy? That sounds like... the opposite of sad. Something went from being new and exciting but small scale to massive and available to many, and now many more projects are able to exploit it. That sounds exciting to me.

    Sure Foldit is more interesting and exciting from the technological development standpoint. Is this some kind of zero-sum game where that necessarily means it eats up the excitement points of discovering pulsars with "traditional" distributed computing projcets?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 12, 2010 @05:37PM (#33233368)

    Jesus Christ, get a life, stop arguing about which distributed computing program discovered something first. If the summary was bad, then it was bad. You guys need to get out more and stop being dorks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 12, 2010 @06:52PM (#33233974)

    Galaxyzoo's finest hour and this is a distributed computer project except with humans as transistors.

  • by chichilalescu ( 1647065 ) on Friday August 13, 2010 @02:59AM (#33236368) Homepage Journal

    The fight cancer at home project seems pretty worthwhile to me. And there are more projects on biochemistry, that your computer can help with. Think of the higher electricity bill as a donation to science, because that's what it is. And you're not making a donation to a foundation that's lobbying for bigger funds from the state, you're actually paying for direct work in a certain field. The ability of the population to control how money is spent on research is pretty much maximized with the @home model.
    Also, you can easily fine tune CPU usage with BOINC.
    Anyway, it's your money, and you don't have to feel bad about it. But in case you wanted to donate to science, this is the best way for many projects.

  • Re:Folding@Home (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 13, 2010 @06:25AM (#33237028)

    Hang on - "None has been found yet" IS a result. We have an experimentally determined upper limit on the alien signal density from space.

    Why do people always expect a Eureka moment?

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI