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Crypto-currency craze 'hinders search for alien life'

Published: February 14, 2018
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Source: BBC

Scientists listening out for broadcasts by extra-terrestrials are struggling to get the computer hardware they need, thanks to the crypto-currency mining craze, a radio-astronomer has said.

Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) wants to expand operations at two observatories.

However, it has found that key computer chips are in short supply.

"We'd like to use the latest GPUs [graphics processing units]... and we can't get 'em," said Dan Werthimer.

Demand for GPUs has soared recently thanks to crypto-currency mining.

"That's limiting our search for extra-terrestrials, to try to answer the question, 'Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?'," Dr Werthimer told the BBC.

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