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IEEE Signal Processing Society Santa Clara Valley Chapter





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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at the SETI Institute

This event is hosted/sponsored by IEEE IMS Chapter and co-sponsored by IEEE SPS Chapter.


   Dr. Gerald (Gerry) R. Harp

   Director, Center for SETI Research



   Geometrics, 2190 Fortune Dr., San Jose, CA 95131



   6:00pm: Check-in and Refreshments

   6:30pm: Presentation

   7:30pm: Q&A

   7:45pm: Adjourn



SETI Institute is a non-profit research institute in Mountain View, CA and is a world leader in all topics pertaining to the evolution of life in the universe, from interstellar chemistry, to extremophiles on Earth, to the discovery of exoplanets, to the radio search for extraterrestrial intelligence. I will discuss the physical arguments in favor of radio SETI, and describe the state of the art for SETI observations to date. The most important challenge for radio SETI at this time is the pervasive presence of human-generated signals that trigger false positives in our SETI detectors. The only reliable weapon to combat such interference is direction-of-arrival estimation that can prove a signal originates from outer space. I give a description of the most advanced digital signal processing technologies in use or being developed for the ETI search including direction-of-arrival estimation and detection of technological signals with arbitrary waveforms. Future observations with the Square Kilometer Array will propel the radio ETI search into a new domain of sensitivity and direction-of-arrival estimation.


Gerry Harp is senior scientist at the SETI Institute working in the area of radio telescope observations for SETI and astronomy. These SETI observations are designed to discover evidence of radio technology on extrasolar planets, presumably created by an intelligent culture. Harp was trained as a quantum mechanics, taking his PhD in experimental physics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After a postdoc at IBM Research, he became a professor of physics at Ohio University. But Harp was lured back to Silicon Valley, leaving a tenured position to join a startup developing 3D visualization systems and multi-axis motion systems for flight simulators. Shortly thereafter, he joined the SETI Institute where he developed the control systems for the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) and moved on to digital signal processing supporting the SETI effort. Harp has developed several new methodologies to improve the radio search for extraterrestrial intelligence, including autocorrelation algorithms for detection of cyclostationary signals and multi-beam technology for simultaneous observations of many points on the sky using an interferometer telescope. http://www.seti.org/users/gerry-harp

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