This week space fanatics were teeming with excitement after it was announced that Stephen Hawking had teamed up with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner in a quest to find extraterrestrial life.
The alien hunting duo is back and they need your help! No long hours at the office or sleepless nights lost over the telescope, all you have to do is download an app.
The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing app (listed under the adorable BOINC acronym in store) is in essence a crowdsourcing platform. It gives scientists the ability to use the spare processing power of personal devices around the world to analyze the huge amounts of data provided from two of the world’s most advanced telescopes scanning the universe for signs of alien life.
The project will record thousands of hours of data, to which the usual 36 recorded hours annually pale in comparison, and processing all of it will require a lot of computing power. President of CompTIA Todd Thibodeaux said the project will need all the extra muscle we can provide:
“In searches such as this, the more eyes you can get on the prize the better,” he told Forbes.
“Harnessing the personal interests of possibly hundreds of thousands of people makes sense and couldn’t be accomplished cost effectively any other way," he added.
If you're worried the app will burn through your personal data, rest easy - it only works when the device is connected via Wi-Fi. It will also only function if your smartphone is plugged in or fully charged, so as not to chew up your battery life.
However, Apple users won't be joining in the hunt just now. Currently, the app only works on Android devices.
Aliens like candy but not fruit, presumably.