The hunt for hashrates by cryptocurrency miners is hurting the search for alien life, with miners pissing off SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Life) as they can't find new GPUs to buy.
SETI chief scientist Dan Wethimer told the BBC: "We'd like to use the latest GPUs [graphics processing units]... and we can't get 'em. This is a new problem, it's only happened on orders we've been trying to make in the last couple of months". So it's not just gamers that are mad at the price of second hand and brand new cards, but the lack of stock of new cards is hurting more than just gamers, reaching into the scientific community.
SETI researchers need the GPUs to scan as many communications frequencies simultaneously, with SETI's base in Berkeley using 100 GPUs alone. SETI has other stations in Green Bank, West Virginia and Parkes, Australia are trying to expand, but the GPU shortage isn't helping. Werthimer continued: "We've got the money, we've contacted the vendors, and they say, 'we just don't have them".
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