Breakthrough Listen 2019

This page provides information about the Breakthrough Listen / SETI Institute RF Hackathon held May 13 – 17, 2019

What?

Breakthrough Listen, UC Berkeley SETI Research Center, and the SETI Institute invite applications from RF professionals, machine learning experts, and the GNU Radio open source community to participate in a three-day community gathering & technical hackathon at the Allen Telescope Array (ATA).

Where?

The ATA is 42-dish facility spread over 1.2 square kilometers, located in a remote part of Northern California. This installation is primarily engaged in scientific programs of radio astronomy and answering one of the biggest questions in science: Are we alone in the Universe?

Housing and meals will be provided on-site at no charge. Participants are responsible for their own travel to the observatory, which is situated a 2.5 – 5 hour drive from major airports such as RNO, SMF, and SFO.

Event Address: Hat Creek Radio Observatory, Hat Creek, CA 96040

Goals?

The goal of this hackathon is to organize and facilitate collaborative research & development within the scientific community on topics of interest, which include:
* Detection and characterization of radio signals, including deep learning approaches.
* Data capture, management, and quality assessment for radio systems.
* RF front-end and antenna status and health management & assessment.
* GNU Radio-based tools for real-time and offline processing at the ATA and other radio astronomy facilities.
* Tools & standards development for open source signal data formats (e.g., SigMF), and transitioning to those formats from existing bespoke formats.
* Enabling citizen science and collaboration with the broader open source community.

In addition, participants will be able to carry out their own hands-on experiments and data captures using the ATA by using the onsite correlator-beamformer or connecting their own software radios directly to the array.

Who?

A principal goal of the hackathon is to provide a dedicated environment for collaboration and exchange of ideas that will enable continued & future endeavors long after the event. Towards that goal, SETI staff planning to participate include:

* Andrew Siemion, Director, Berkeley SETI Research Center, and Bernard M. Oliver Chair of SETI Research, SETI Institute
* Jon Richards, Hat Creek SETI Operations Manager, SETI Institute
* Steve Croft, Staff scientist, Berkeley SETI
* Billy Barott, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Embry-Riddle
* Yunfan (Gerry) Zhang, Researcher, Berkeley SETI

Other participants include:
* Ben Hilburn, Director of Engineering, DeepSig, and President of the GNU Radio Project
* Tim O’Shea, co-founder & CTO, DeepSig, and Research Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech
* Nathan West, Principal Engineer, DeepSig, and Creator & Maintainer, libsigmf

When?

Dates are in 2019.

Monday May 13:
Evening – Arrive at Hat Creek Radio Observatory. Welcome barbecue.

Tuesday May 14:
Morning – Tour of the antennas, control room, correlator / beamformer / server room. Introductory talks on the array, radio astronomy, and SETI basics.
Afternoon – Brainstorming. Split into teams.

Wednesday May 15 & Thursday May 16: Hands-on hackathon.

Thursday May 16 evening / Friday May 17 morning: Participants depart. Optional hike in nearby Lassen National Park.

Participants are expected to abide by the code of conduct at https://makingcontact2018.com/code-of-conduct/