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PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home

 
THE BLACK FRIAR
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03/13/2005 07:35 PM
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PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Who We Are

We are a diverse group of researchers dedicated to the search for new planets and to enabling you to join this great adventure!

Making You the Astronomer

We´re building free software with which you can search for and discover new planets, classify stars and learn new facts about known stars, learn much more about your world and the universe, and meet new friends. See what you´ll be able to do with the Collaboratory.

What We´ve Done So Far

We created the Transit Detection Algorithm (TDA), which makes it possible to discover planets from ground-based observatories using the photometric (light-measuring) method. Our TDA has been adapted for use in NASA´s Kepler Mission. More...

[link to www.planetquest.org]
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Cool anyway.
DimeBag (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Interesting, Herr Doktor Friar.
THE BLACK FRIAR (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
I´m not a hair doctor!
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Cool anyway.
Matt... (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Bump.
Patty (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Good stuff.
BOA-M (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Further options for the idle workstation:

SETI@home setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu
Folding@home www.stanford.edu/group/pandegroup/Cosm
Compute-against-Cancer www.parabon.com/cac.jsp
Fight AIDS@home www.fightaidsathome.org
Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search mersenne.org
Casino 21: Climate simulation www.climate-dynamics.rl.ac.uk



Internet Computing and the Emerging Grid

Internet computing and Grid technologies promise to change the way we tackle complex problems. They will enable large-scale aggregation and sharing of computational, data and other resources across institutional boundaries. And harnessing these new technologies effectively will transform scientific disciplines ranging from high-energy physics to the life sciences.

The data challenge

Fifty years of innovation have increased the raw speed of individual computers by a factor of around one million, yet they are still far too slow for many challenging scientific problems. For example, detectors at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, by 2005 will be producing several petabytes of data per year -- a million times the storage capacity of the average desktop computer. Performing the most rudimentary analysis of these data will probably require the sustained application of some 20 teraflops (floating-point operations) per second of computing power. Compare this with the 3 teraflops per second produced by the fastest contemporary supercomputer, and it is clear that more sophisticated analyses will need orders of magnitude more power.

Cluster and conquer

One solution to the problem of inadequate computer power is to ´cluster´ multiple individual computers. This technique, first explored in the early 1980s, is now standard practice in supercomputer centres, research labs and industry. The fastest supercomputers in the world are collections of microprocessors, such as the 8,000-processor ASCI White system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Many research laboratories operate low-cost PC clusters or ´farms´ for computing or data analysis. This year´s winner in the Gordon Bell Award for price-performance in supercomputing achieved US$0.92 per megaflop per second on an Intel Pentium III cluster. And good progress has been made on the algorithms needed to exploit thousands of processors effectively.


from:
Nature Web Matters > Internet Computing and the Emerging Grid
[link to www.nature.com]
THE BLACK FRIAR (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Hey Baba

Excellent summary.
Baba Oum Al-Malpa (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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BF,
I have considered practicing PC philanthropy* but never really thought I had enough extra bandwith or processing power for it to be worth anyone´s time. It seems a natural enough thing for people to do one of these days. Plants, for example, may be way ahead of us as far as grid computing enhanced living is concerned.



*PC philanthropy is sharing some of the unused resources (mainly processor cycles) of your personal computer to benefit a social cause. For example, during the time that your computer is not working on applications that you´re using, it can be working on some small part of a large-scale problem in medical research or the search for signals from outer space. Effectively, you and thousands of other PC users engaged in PC philanthropy become part of a kind of distributed supercomputer that is doing parallel processing.
(etc. etc.)
From:
PC philanthropy - a Whatis.com definition
[link to searchwebservices.techtarget.com]
sDefinition/0,,sid26_gci798286,00.html



Do Plants Practice Grid Computing?
Roland Piquepaille

According to Nature, plants seem to optimize their ´breathing´ by conducting simple calculations through a distributed computing scheme. "Plants appear to ´think´, according to US researchers, who say that green plants engage in a form of problem-solving computation."

David Peak and co-workers at Utah State University in Logan say that plants may regulate their uptake and loss of gases by ´distributed computation´ -- a kind of information processing that involves communication between many interacting units.
Nature adds this is similar to signals exchanged by ants to find the best source of food for an ant community.

This might not sound much like what a computer does, but it is. In distributed computation, signals exchanged between components of the system define the process for solving a problem. Researchers are now exploring the possibility of using distributed computing with swarms of simple robots to carry out tasks, such as searching a landscape, more efficiently than a single, more sophisticated robot could manage.
Let´s come back to plants and their leaves, which have tiny pores on their surface, called stomata.
Leaves have openings called stomata that open wide to let CO2 in, but close up to prevent precious water vapour from escaping. Plants attempt to regulate their stomata to take in as much CO2 as possible while losing the least amount of water. But they are limited in how well they can do this: leaves are often divided into patches where the stomata are either open or closed, which reduces the efficiency of CO2 uptake.
By studying the distributions of these patches of open and closed stomata in leaves of the cocklebur plant, Peak and colleagues found specific patterns reminiscent of distributed computing. Patches of open or closed stomata sometimes move around a leaf at constant speed, for example.
The statistics of the size of these patches, and of the waiting times between the appearance of successive patches, are the same as those for a model of cellular automata, the researchers say. The individual leaf stomata appear to act like simple computers, responding to what their neighbouring stomata are doing.
These results have been published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Here is the abstract of this paper, "Evidence for complex, collective dynamics and emergent, distributed computation in plants."

It has been suggested that some biological processes are equivalent to computation, but quantitative evidence for that view is weak. Plants must solve the problem of adjusting stomatal apertures to allow sufficient CO2 uptake for photosynthesis while preventing excessive water loss. Under some conditions, stomatal apertures become synchronized into patches that exhibit richly complicated dynamics, similar to behaviors found in cellular automata that perform computational tasks. Using sequences of chlorophyll fluorescence images from leaves of Xanthium strumarium L. (cocklebur), we quantified spatial and temporal correlations in stomatal dynamics. Our values are statistically indistinguishable from those of the same correlations found in the dynamics of automata that compute. These results are consistent with the proposition that a plant solves its optimal gas exchange problem through an emergent, distributed computation performed by its leaves.


Do Plants Practice Grid Computing?
[link to www.primidi.com]
THE BLACK FRIAR (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Cool, baba.

Y´ know, there was an article in the Science Times a few years back -- on tree farming...that is, trees as farmers...

Seems some trees "take care" of the plants that grow arond them on the forest floor. Sort of enlightened self-interest...The trees make sure the plants are always watered and have the proper nutrients...(with their root systems)...

Making sure that the trees themselves always have mulch....as the plants go thru their normal growth cycles...
Baba Oum Al-Malpa (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Grid computing may be occuring out there on many levels BF.
Trees taking care of plants and, imagine the tragedy, those poor little plants don´t even realize the trees are exploiting them, and to boot for nothing more than mulch.
THE BLACK FRIAR (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
don´t even realize the trees are exploiting them, and to boot for nothing more than mulch.<

But yee Gads, man -- might be a description of our very relationship to the -- Gods!
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
It was a bore the first time you posted this over a month ago. Still is.

You have taken bumping your own threads to a new level.
THE BLACK FRIAR (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 15609
3/15/2005
8:10 pm EST --

No, that was about finding Pulsars in the comfort of your own home...

Did you misplace your notes?
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Thanks. I found them. You are boring.
THE BLACK FRIAR (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Glad I could be of some help.
BOA-M (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Oderint dum metuat.
Accius
THE BLACK FRIAR (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Volator est vox.
BOA-M (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Bono Vox enters R&R Hall Of Fame!
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
No, that was about finding Pulsars in the comfort of your own home...



Oh yeah. That makes a difference.
Dorian Swan (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Oh yeah.
Hiram N., etc. (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Plants fix genes with copies from ancestors
Still-mysterious process likened to computer caching
Updated: 9:19 a.m. ET March 23, 2005

Plants inherit secret stashes of genetic information from their long-dead ancestors and can use them to correct errors in their own genes -- a startling capacity for DNA editing and self-repair wholly unanticipated by modern genetics, researchers said yesterday.

The newly discovered phenomenon, which resembles the caching of early versions of a computer document for viewing later, allows plants to archive copies of genes from generations ago, long assumed to be lost forever.


read more

[link to www.boston.com]

Last Edited by Mister Obvious on 02/01/2012 11:40 AM
THE BLACK FRIAR (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Thanks for nourishing this little thread, Hiram etc.
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Sure missed you.
When are you going away again?
THE BLACK FRIAR (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
When are you going away again?<

Might be sooner than y´d think....
THE BLACK FRIAR (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
Introducing the glooper computer
26 March 2005
Duncan Graham-Rowe
Magazine issue 2492


How do you turn a blob of jelly into a thinking, feeling liquid brain? New Scientist investigates the development of chemical-based processors

MOST of us find a shot of caffeine or a brisk walk does the trick. But when Andrew Adamatzky feels his brain needs a little extra stimulation, he gets a robot to dabble its metal fingers in it.

Adamatzky is a computer scientist at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK, and his prototype brain is a dish of chemicals sitting on a lab bench. Its "thoughts" are waves of ions that form spontaneously and diffuse through the mix. And occasionally, when things get too sluggish, the brain instructs a robotic hand to dip its fingers into the dish and wiggle them about, literally stirring the creative juices.

Designed to do nothing more than mimic the kind of feedback that occurs between our own fingers and brains, this experiment is part of an ambitious programme to develop chemical-based processors that run on ions rather than electrons, and ...

The complete article is 3061 words long.

[link to www.newscientist.com]
BOAM, etc. (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Very nice BF.

Interview with Andrew Adamatzky
Questions by Sander Olson. Answers by Andrew Adamatzky.

Andrew Adamatzky is a faculty member at Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. There he leads projects on unconventional computing, theory of computation, collective robotics and artificial intelligence. He published more than sixty papers in scientific journals and two research monographs. His web site is at [link to www.ias.uwe.ac.uk] and his email address is andrew.adamatzky@uwe.ac.uk.


Question 1: Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background, and how did you first become interested in cellular automata and unconventional computing?

I´ve got formal degrees in biology, physics and mathematics, and theoretical computer science. As you see my background is pretty comprehensive. I´ve firstly encountered CA in the early eighties. In early nineties I published my first book on identification of cellular automata. I did not do too much for theory of CA. I´ve been keen in applications. I found that some CA algorithms can be interpreted in terms of reaction-diffusion and excitation; and, most active non-linear media are simulated in CA. Clearly, this experience in CA helped me to develop framework of wet-ware computers.

Question 2: When you speak of "wet" systems, what exactly do you mean?

"My sperm cells have two tails ? one for the wetware and one for the software". Gotcha! No, my "wet" has little to do with Rucker?s wicked creatures. My term is a generalization for varieties of chemical and molecular processors. They include stirred chemical reactors, thin layer reaction-diffusion systems and monomolecular arrays. I prefer them wet because they do not compute when dried.

Question 3: Tell us about your current work.

My group is starting laboratory experiments on the wet-ware for autonomous robots. The idea is simple. Got a robot? Put a dish on top of it. Mix chemicals that make light-sensitive excitable medium. Pour the liquid in the dish. Make robot "feel" spreading phase waves in the medium. Switch light on. The medium is excited, waves of excitation spread from the excited sites, indicating thus a relevant direction toward the light source. The robot looks at the waves and thus figures out where the light is. It?s so god damn easy. Obviously, image-processing etc. in excitable media can be done as a by-product of the experiments. As to theoretical stuff, I?m developing a formal framework for "parachemistry of mind". This is my brand new thought. Emotional and cognitive states are seen as reagents of some chemical solution. Simulated dynamic is impressive. You know the rest? There are also students in my lab, they do all kinds of research: from robotic polymers to flying swarms. Mostly I generate ideas and then let somebody else to implement them?

Question 4: What do you believe to be the ultimate potential of reaction-diffusion processors? Do you think that chemical processors could eventually replace silicon as a computing medium?

A reaction-diffusion processor is a massively parallel computing device. Look at well-known Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction in a thin layer. Such chemical reactor can do almost all basic operations of image processing; assuming the image is optically projected onto the reactor. A standard Petri dish contains thousands and thousands of elementary micro-volumes. That is we have thousands of elementary processing units. Also, the spatially distributed chemical processors are fault tolerant. No one can destroy the processor by removing a drop or two of the reaction liquid, or by splashing a surface of the reactor. However, the chemical processors are very slow, because usually diffusion is involved in the information processing. So, they do not and will not compete with silicon computers. Chemical processors rather complement silicon processors. Actually, the chemical processors are just one of many members of non-linear medium computers.

Question 5: What exactly do you mean by "non-linear media" and what are the advantages of computing in non-linear media?

I would suggest you to browse though chapters of my recent book "Computing in non-linear media?" at the Institute of Physics web site at [link to bookmarkphysics.iop.org] or via the link [link to www.ias.uwe.ac.uk] There are many examples of non-linear media: form excitable lattices to insect populations. Wave dynamics and emergent behavior are computationally useful properties of the media. Problems with natural parallelism are solved in non-linear media in a naturally parallel way. For example, to find a path in a labyrinth we physically cut the labyrinth of some excitable media. Then we excite the medium somewhere inside the labyrinth. The waves of excitation spread around. Path of the wave, which reaches the exit first, is the required solution.

Question 6: How much longer, do you believe, conventional approaches to computing (such as conventional lithography and non-parallel computing) will continue? How do you see a crossover between conventional approaches and non-linear approaches?

For ages? The term "conventional" is misleading. As Toffoli wrote: "a computing scheme that today is viewed as unconventional may well be so because its time hasn´t come yet - or is already gone". When people talk about non-standard computing they usually mention cellular automata. Rubbish! CA are as standard as we are. Zuse?s computing universe. Neuman?s cellular spaces. VLSI, systolic arrays, they are cellular automata essentially. They are used everywhere now. As to the "wet" ware and non-linear media computers ? they do not mean to compete with PCs. They are extravagant, slow, reliable accomplices of our brains.

Question 7: What is your opinion of Molecular Nanotechnology (MNT)? Do you consider your work to be related to or a form of MNT?

Obviously, most basic results are obtained years and years ago. A general public started to be excited about it just recently. You know, the same things happened many times before. If someone wants to found a "new" field of science he simply invents a new name. Thus, for example, a good old cybernetics was renamed to artificial life in early eighties, and, hop, now we have a new "science". The reason is obvious, no company will give you their hard-earned money to pursue research in "outdated" bionics, however they like artificial life; no manager would appreciate your projects in molecular design, molecular nano-technology is more intriguing. Nevertheless, MNT is appealing to me because of nano-computers and nano-robots. We can do without them however it is nice to have something small to talk about...

Question 8: How does the potential of reaction-diffusion media compare with other unconventional computing techniques such as DNA computing?

Reaction-diffusion computing belongs to the field of physics-based computation. Here we talk advanced materials. So, such "unconventional" techniques as evolutionary computation and genetic algorithms are out of competition. DNA computing employs chemistry as well. However, you know, not too much problems have been solved in DNA computers. Adepts of DNA computing prefer to talk then to do? And after all DNA is nothing more than another modification of simulated annealing method.

Question 9: How does the overall research effort for advancing computing technologies in the U.K. compare with that of the U.S.?

The science is international. Commonly, advanced projects involve scientists and financiers from both sides of the ocean. So, there is not too much difference.

Question 10: Do you think that your work on unconventional computing could ever lead to sentient machines?

Yes, I do. This will be a kind of a gooware, an amorphous homogeneous matter, looking like an amoeba but enormously intelligent. It will have parallel perception, massively parallel information processing and distributed acting. The gooware will be able to think, to express emotions; to reproduce itself ? This will be like another-life form.

Question 11: What organizations do you collaborate with? Do any large semiconductor companies, such as Intel or IBM, fund or know about your work?

Yes, a lot of organizations "know" about my works; not everyone collaborates. No, I do not have formal links with Intel or IBM.

Question 12: What are your future plans?

Future is promising. Forthcoming years will bring us working prototypes of liquid chemical brains for robots, intelligent sheets (excitable media plus electro-active polymers), logical processors in molecular arrays, and self-organizing robotic polymers. As to the theory, we are preparing multi-author book on computing via colliding localizations, which will be a very good reading. Also I will continue shaping the parachemistry of mind, however would not like to go into details now, because it is too exciting?

Information on Nanotechnology / Nanomagazine.com
[link to www.nanomagazine.com]
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
PINK POP SUKI (OP)

12/08/2005 10:15 AM
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Re: PLANET QUEST: Search for Extra-Solar Planets in the Comfort of Home
We look for planets when we home too. Comfort of home? Not when fast and Supersonic. Always loud noise and guitar. No time fly...

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