Can SETI’s algorithm detect intelligence?

TED granted Jill Tartar her wish to: “empower Earthlings everywhere to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company”. TED and Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has set up SETIQuest.org to:

. . . make vast amounts of SETI data available to the public for the first time. It will also publish the SETI Institute’s signal-detection algorithm as open source code, inviting brilliant coders and amateur techies to make it even better. . . . You are officially invited to join the search for extraterrestrial life. . . .With available cloud storage and processing resources, we can prov de digital signal processing experts and students with a lot of raw data … and invite them to develop new algorithms that can find other types of signals that we are now missing,”

The Challenge for ID
1) Is SETI’s methodology valid?

Can objective science reliably detect and distinguish evidence of an intelligent agent from natural stochastic processes? Can it do so with a presupposition of materialistic naturalism?

2) Is the SETI algorithm a valid test of intelligence?

Can it reliably distinguish between a signal from an Intelligent Agent and stochastic natural processes?

3) Can ID develop a better algorithm?
Can one or more algorithms be developed to more reliably distinguish between an Intelligent Agent and nature?

For background, see
* Dembski’s No Free Lunch
* Evolutionary Informatics and
* previous UD posts on SETI

Importance & Effort
Regarding how much to participate, consider the possible outcomes and the effort required relative to the top 30 global humanitarian projects as identified and prioritized by the Copenhagen Consensus.

For details see: SETIQuest’s

Join the Quest

January 27, 2010: Today’s project launch is a first opportunity to join the setiQuest project yourself. Start by reading the material that’s here, mentioning this page on your blog or other social media, and registering your email address with us by clicking on the Stay Informed button in the upper right hand corner above.

If you’re a software developer: We plan to start hosting code in the second quarter of 2010. The code will be released gradually in modules rather than all at one time, giving us a chance to provide enough documentation about each module so that the code will be clear to radio-astronomy hobbyists. Staged releases will also allow time for focused online discussion about each module within the setiQuest community, building a searchable archive that further increases everyone’s (and the project’s) collective understanding. At that point our developers will be doing their daily work on the public code repository and will interact with the public through patch submissions and direct reputation building just like with any other Open Source codebase.

If you’re a Digital Signal Processing (DSP) geek: Once we have released the DSP code we are hoping that the DSP community will experiment with it, maybe even improve upon it or incorporate it into their research. We’d love to see your algorithms, too.

If you’re a Data Parsing or Gaming geek: One of the goals of setiQuest is to start streaming real-time data captured at the Allen Telescope Array so it can be used to feed a number of software clients that allow Citizen Scientists to screen the data by looking for interesting features that our existing algorithms might otherwise overlook. We’ll be publishing sample data and draft APIs in the second quarter of 2010 so you can get started and we’re hoping to start pushing real-time data not long after. We’re hoping to see several clients (visual and otherwise) spring up over the next year or so.

If you’re a fan of radio astronomy: We sincerely hope you’ll join us as a Citizen Scientist to screen data once there are clients, but until then you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook or any one of several Social Networking feeds listed in the upper left-hand corner of this page. You can also lend support financially by donating to the SETI Institute.

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3 Responses to Can SETI’s algorithm detect intelligence?

  1. Search For Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence – SETI receives message from God,,,,, Almost – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/.....od_almost/

    Maybe the SETI researchers can be forgiven for missing that particular message from that “alien” Life because there was not enough Complex Specified Information, but there is no excuse for missing the message written in our own DNA.

    The DNA Code – Solid Scientific Proof Of Intelligent Design – Perry Marshall – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/....._marshall/

    3-D Structure Of Human Genome: Fractal Globule Architecture Packs Two Meters Of DNA Into Each Cell – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: the information density in the nucleus is trillions of times higher than on a computer chip — while avoiding the knots and tangles that might interfere with the cell’s ability to read its own genome. Moreover, the DNA can easily unfold and refold during gene activation, gene repression, and cell replication. http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142957.htm

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/.....ody_plans/

  2. The Explanatory Filter is such an algorithm- It can be used to help us differentiate between evidence of an intelligent agent from natural stochastic processes.

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