Press Esc to close
Sunday 01 March 2015
News updated at 10:02 PM IST
Weather
Max: 31.7°C
Min : 16.9°C
In Bengaluru
clear sky

200,000 home PCs help discover 24 pulsars

Berlin, Aug 30, 2013 (PTI)

 Scientists have used the combined computing power of 200,000 home PCs around the world, to take an inventory of the Milky Way and add 24 pulsars to the cosmic census.

Pulsars are the remnants from explosions of massive stars. They are strongly magnetised and extremely dense neutron stars.

The Einstein@Home project connects home and office PCs of volunteers from around the world to a global supercomputer.

Using this computer cloud, an international team lead by scientists from the Max Planck Institutes for Gravitational Physics and for Radio Astronomy discovered 24 pulsars – extraordinary stellar remnants with extreme physical properties.

These can be used as testbeds for Einstein's general theory of relativity and could help to complete our picture of the pulsar population, researchers said.

"Through the participation of the public, we discovered 24 new pulsars in our Milky Way, which had previously been missed - and some of them are particularly interesting," said Benjamin Knispel, lead author of the study published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Pulsars rapidly rotate and emit a beam of radio waves along their magnetic field axis – similar to the spotlight of a lighthouse. If the radio wave beam points towards Earth, the pulsar can be observed.

Large and sensitive radio telescopes are required to discover the weak signals from new pulsars. Knispel and his colleagues analysed data from the Parkes Multi-beam Pulsar Survey, conducted from 1997 to 2001, with the 64-meter antenna of CSIRO's Parkes radio telescope in southeast Australia.

"The search for new radio pulsars is very computer intensive. To determine the a prior unknown characteristics of the pulsar, eg, its distance or its rotation period, we have to very finely comb through wide parameter ranges," said Knispel.

Each week, 50,000 volunteers from around the world "donate" idle compute cycles on their 200,000 home and office PCs to Einstein@Home.

Together they combine to yield a sustained computing power of around 860 teraFLOPs per second. This places Einstein@Home on par with the world's fastest supercomputers.
The analysis of the archival Parkes data was completed in eight months, while the same task would have taken a single CPU core more than 17,000 years, researchers said.

Raw computing power was not the only important factor to discover the two dozen new pulsars. The development of new post-processing methods proved to be just as crucial.

The recorded data often contain pulsar-like, man-made interference signals. The astronomers employed new methods that allowed them to discover pulsars previously masked by the presence of these interference signals. 


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Cambodian artists presenting dance-drama at the International Ramayana Mela...

Cambodian artists presenting dance-drama at the International Ramayana Mela...

Cyclist at the Rajpath as the national capital received early morning showers in New Delhi...

Cyclist at the Rajpath as the national capital received early morning showers in New Delhi...

A waterlogged street after the early morning showers in the national capital...

A waterlogged street after the early morning showers in the national capital...

A train moves through snow covered railway track as the region received heavy snowfall in Anantnag..

A train moves through snow covered railway track as the region received heavy snowfall in Anantnag..

Artists dressed up as Hindu deities Lord Krishna and Radha play Holi...

Artists dressed up as Hindu deities Lord Krishna and Radha play Holi...

People throw coloured powder as they celebrate Lathmar Holi at Nandgaon...

People throw coloured powder as they celebrate Lathmar Holi at Nandgaon...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the new Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Syeed..

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the new Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Syeed..

Sangakkara and Thirimanne celebrate beating England in their Cricket World Cup match in Wellington..

Sangakkara and Thirimanne celebrate beating England in their Cricket World Cup match in Wellington..

Sangakkara congratulates team mate Perera who celebrates talking the wicket of England's Morgan...

Sangakkara congratulates team mate Perera who celebrates talking the wicket of England's Morgan...

Pakistan players celebrate with wicket of Zimbabwe's Chamunorwa Chibhabha during the Pool B Cricket.

Pakistan players celebrate with wicket of Zimbabwe's Chamunorwa Chibhabha during the Pool B Cricket.

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523