August 13, 2010

DONATED COMPUTER TIME DISCOVERS NEW STAR: “Astronomers announced Thursday the discovery of a new star, found with help from a most unusual source — a screen saver. Chris and Helen Colvin, owners of the personal computer running the screen saver are participants in a project called [email protected], an experiment in distributed computing which uses the donated idle time from hundreds of thousands of home computers across the globe in lieu of more expensive supercomputers. The June 11 discovery in Ames, Iowa of a pulsar — a dense, rotating star that appears to pulse like a lighthouse beacon — was confirmed on June 14 by another user’s computer in Germany. It marks the first time an astronomical body has been discovered this way.” (Via Frank Munger).

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