archiv~1.txt: Re: SETI-L: Everybody may be afraid & a Answer

Re: SETI-L: Everybody may be afraid & a Answer
Thu, 25 Mar 1999 23:12:07 EST

In a message dated 3/25/99 8:04:32 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> I also would like to raise another point. The Seti Institute said that
> the reason they do not post data is because for each star they scan they
> accumulate 15 terabytes of data. I don't know how many of you are
> computer professionals, or even know that much about computers, but that
> is an extremely ludicrous number.

You fail to appreciate the power of Moores Law. In other words, we as a
species are becoming computationally more powerful all the time, at an
exponential rate of increase. Never say any (put your favorite computing value
here) is ludicrous. Don't forget, Bill Gates once said that no one would ever
need more than 640k of memory.

Anyway, they generate 5 teras, not 15. And they don't store it any longer than
they need to process it. And processing is done in near real time. Here is the
link from the Seti Institute describing their data processing rationale:

> They said all processing is done in
> realtime. If you can show me a computer that can process 15 terabytes of
> information into complex search algorithms in the short time they spend to
> scan each star then I don't know what I'd do.

Well, your only off by a factor of three. Start looking for something that
'you don't know what to do', hehe.

> It's impossible at this
> point in time, even with an extremely large cluster to process 15
> terabytes of data. Moby Dick is approx 200kilobytes in length last time i
> checked. that makes each star's data 75,000,000 times the size of moby
> dick, which I realize is not ascii text, but is still a number that is way
> way off.
> michael bernstein
> btw, I've used beowulf clusters on 1terabyte raid systems, and it has
> taken WEEKS to do certain things. I'm sure the seti algorithms are
> equally complex.

Your Beowulf clusters are not optimized for seti work. So the analogy may not
be so valid.

I know it sounds incredulous, but personally, I take the Seti Institute at
their word.

John Marcus.