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Tech startup aiding SETI’s search for aliens

A data company that launched in 2012 is helping the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute search for extraterrestrials.

According to Business Insider Australia, the San Jose, California based Skytree has “quietly amassed the biggest, brightest minds in the computer science ‘machine learning’ industry.” In a relatively short period of time, the company has attracted top talent. As Business Insider Australia explains:


[The company’s] tech advisory board reads like a who’s who in machine learning, too: UC Berkeley professor Michael Jordan world famous in the field; Dave Patterson who invented the RISC processor and RAID storage technology; Pat Hanrahan, cofounder of Tableau Software and a Stanford professor who previously worked for Pixar, where he won two Oscars for creating Pixar’s famous animation tech.

And the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Georgia Tech scientist Alexander Gray, reportedly won an award for his work on proving the existence of dark matter.

The Allen Telescope Array (Credit: SETI Institute)
The Allen Telescope Array (Credit: SETI Institute)

These industry leaders are drawn to the company because Skytree is pioneering “machine learning” data analysis. This process “uses algorithms to sift through massive volumes of data to find the answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.”

Reviewing massive volumes of data has been challenging for the SETI Institute. This organization has a constant stream of incoming data from radio telescope arrays searching for signals from intelligent extraterrestrials. And, until now, only a small percentage of that data could be reviewed. But by utilizing Skytree servers, the data can now be analyzed as it is received.

Jason McClellan

Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.

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