Use your laptop to help scientists explore black holes

Web Log: Researchers turn to public for help in crunching data on black hole collisions

Remember SETI@home? This crowd computing initiative allowed anyone with an internet-connected computer to help out UC Berkeley’s Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence project by crunching data from radio telescopes in the hopes of detecting anomalous patterns.

In existence since 1999, SETI@home is one of the oldest internet-based public volunteer computing projects. It runs on BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing), as does a new project called BlackHoles@Home. If you download this program, your laptop can contribute to the analysis of data generated by black hole collisions.

Expand efforts

"As our gravitational wave detectors become more sensitive, we're going to need to greatly expand our efforts to understand all of the information encoded in gravitational waves from colliding binary black holes," project lead Zachariah Etienne told

“We are turning to the general public to help with these efforts, which involve generating unprecedented numbers of self-consistent simulations of these extremely energetic collisions. This will truly be an inclusive effort, and we especially hope to inspire the next generation of scientists in this growing field of gravitational wave astrophysics.”