Computing enthusiasts using GPUs have assisted the discovery of a new pulsar, as a part of the worldwide “volunteer distributed-computing” project known as Einstein@Home. The pulsar known as PSR J1952+2630 was originally discovered in July 2010 and is located more than 30,000 light years from Earth.
The Einstein@Home project uses spare computing power donated by hundreds of thousands of PC users all over the world to search data from gravitational wave detectors and radio telescopes. The newly released version of its software leverages NVIDIA CUDA-enabled GPUs to get a 20X boost in performance – as a result, just 10% of the GPUs that connect to the project daily now deliver the equivalent processing power of all the contributing CPUs.
The details of the pulsar discovery were kept confidential until a paper was published this week called: “Arecibo PALFA Survey and Einstein@Home: Binary Pulsar Discovery By Volunteer Computing.”