Terminator's SkyNet is real, but it's looking at the stars

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terminator.jpgScared of our inevitable annihilation at the hands of a huge network of connected supercomputers? Seen the Terminator flicks? Then you may want to stop reading.

A team of scientists from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) is starting a new project involving a massive web of computers around the globe. Its name?

SkyNet.

Now before you start having nightmares about an army of robot Arnies wrecking havoc across the globe, breathe a sigh of relief; SkyNet’s purpose isn’t the automation of our nuclear weapon controls, but to scan and record the masses of astronotmical data that may point to as-yet-undiscovered galaxies and stars.

A crowd-sourced project, computer owners across the globe are being asked to download a piece of software that sifts through some of the data while their machines aren’t being used.

“As we design, develop and switch on the next generation of radio telescopes, the supercomputing resources processing this deluge of data will be in increasingly high demand,” said Professor Peter Quinn, director of ICRAR in a statement.

“SkyNet aims to complement the work already being done by creating a citizen science computing resource that radio astronomers can tap into and process data in ways and for purposes that otherwise might not be possible.”

As an incentive, those who help the SkyNet cause can win a visit to one of the observatories used to gather the data. There you’ll discover the real threat to humanity; the impending Xenomorph alien invasion.

Gerald Lynch