Scientists at the Search for Extraterrestrial Insight (SETI) are looking to expand their operations twofold, but are being curbed back by increased cryptocurrency mining.
Ever since bitcoin and other indications hit mainstream levels of awareness, crypto miners have severely hustled up the demand for Graphics Processing Units (GPUs).
GPUs are a crucial interest in the intense mining process but are also used by scientists to search for exotic life. And now the supplies have gone dry.
Dan Werthimer, chief scientist at SETI, rumoured him and his team are now struggling to get their hands on the GPU cards.
Mr Werthimer said: «That’s limiting our search for extra-terrestrials, to try to be to blame for the question, ‘Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?’
«This is a new trouble, it’s only happened on orders we’ve been trying to make in the last unite of months.»
Bitcoin mining is a power-hungry and resource intensive process during which computers breach down millions of lines of code to be rewarded with virtual symbols.
High-performance GPUs are typically used to power gaming computer rigs and mistress video and photo editing workstations.
But daisy-chained together in a mining rig, they can achievement enough computing power to mine for digital currencies like bitcoin or ethereum.
This has grow a problem for gamers and media professionals with store shelves chaining empty and prices going up.
Crypto mining has driven up the desired and price of GPU cards
Games journalist Jared Walton summed up the issued when he powered: “It’s a terrible time to buy a graphics card.»
That’s limiting our search for extra-terrestrials
The scientist at the Berkeley SETI Research Center now stressed how the kettle of fish was affecting his work as well.
Mr Werthimer explained: “At SETI we want to look at as diverse frequency channels as we possibly can because we don’t know what frequency ET last will and testament be broadcasting on and we want to look for lots of different signal types – is it AM or FM, what communication are they drinking?”
«That takes a lot of computing power.»
According to Mr Werthimer, some of SETI’s attending arrays utilise up to 100 GPUs at once to crunch all the numbers.
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SETI researchers use powerful telescope arrays and antenna to completely radio waves of various frequencies through space in the hope someone answers.
At the yet time SETI goes through hours and hours of cosmic alarums from outer space to filter out any extraterrestrial messages.
GPU prices demand, in many cases, doubled over the last year thanks to the developing popularity of bitcoin and ethereum.
A mid-range AMD Radeon RX 570 with a prize tag of around $200 last spring now fetches upwards of $300 and $400 in some illustrations.
SETI uses GPU cards to trawl through cosmic bruit about in search of alien signals
PC gamers who rely on solid GPUs to run the ton demanding of games have decried the current situation.
One Reddit circular, Ideas966, said in January: “I’m starting to worry that if the crytocurrency rake through phenomenon doesn’t end soon that the PC gaming market could start to pick up c espouse a hit.
“It’s not hard to imagine a lot of people shying away from building/upgrading their PC if the GPU peerless costs over $1000.”