Scientists Lament Cryptocurrency Craze Makes Alien-Hunting Tech Hard to Come By

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The process of mining for cryptocurrencies requires users to lend their computer processing power to solve complex mathematical equations needed to authenticate transactions across the blockchain-a distributed ledger that keeps track of all sales and purchases of a particular cryptocurrency. The Fermi Paradox, which is the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence and high probability estimates for the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, could also be applied to cryptocurrencies: in this case, the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence of any serious use for most cryptocurrencies versus the value placed in many of them by market speculators.

He then explained "that's limiting our search for extra-terrestrials, to try to answer the question, 'Are we alone?"

Of course, we haven't actually heard ET trying to phone home - and we probably won't unless astronomers can get their hands on enough GPUs to power their search for life. At Seti, radio astronomers want to process as many frequency channels as possible, because we can't know which ones a distant civilization might use to send a signal to other worlds.

Search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) scientists are getting frustrated by their inability to find GPUs. Some telescopes utilize 100 GPUs on their own.

"We'd like to use the latest GPUs [graphics processing units]... and we can't get 'em", Werthimer told the BBC. The Seti scientists are now trying to improve their capacity for analyzing such data at two observatories: Green Bank in West Virginia and Parkes in Australia. Do you believe we're not alone in the universe?

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GPU chips are now not as easily available as before. The aforementioned telescope listens to low-frequency radio waves emitted by hydrogen before the first galaxies formed in the early universe.

The shortage of GPUs is largely thanks to the cryptocurrency craze, as mining for cryptocoins requires enormous amounts of computing power. A contingency budget is helping for now, but if the supply gets more scarce, the operation might not be able to continue its research, according to Parsons.

But Mr Hickey has also noticed that GPUs are now being sold on sites such as Ebay at inflated prices. That has spurred exponential growth in demand for GPUs, which has resulted in massive price increases and shortages, as GPU makers have been unable to keep up with demand.

Are you involved in scientific research that has been affected by the GPU (graphics processing unit) shortage?