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Jon Richards

Jon Richards

I am a Senior Software Engineer at the SETI Institute concentrating on detecting SETI signals using the Allen Telescope Array. I am an expert in computer software development, I am comfortable developing in many programming languages and many different types of computer systems. My past work has involved a lot of hardware design and development, tying hardware and software to networks and the internet. Since 2008 I have been trying to continually build my skills and knowlege of digital signal processing and trying to master the Allen Telescope Array hardware and software.

I work on the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) software and hardware control systems. I do it all. I plan and implement the observing schedule. I develop and maintain the SETI search software. I am also trying to improve the SETI system at the ATA and find new uses for this wonderful instrument.

The development and maintaining involves improving the software that operates the 42 - 6 meter receiving dishes at the ATA, maintaining and developing electronic controls, and developing/improving the software that analyzes the received data for signals. I spend several days on site at the ATA every month. I wish I could be there more.

Every night we observe for 12 hours. I have a web site that shows the details of the observing schedule and will show real-time observation status when observing. Please visithttp://setiquest.info

When observing the system commonly sees a lot of signals. Our software system judges the detected signals and tries to determine if this is actually a signal of interest. I publish plots of all the signals we see every night. See http://setiquest.info/mlfiles2 to look a the signal plots, updated every morning after observing. Most are boring static, but occasionally there is a weird one.

We represent our signal data visually in the form of "waterfall" plots that you will bee below. Basically they are plots of time on the Y axis, frequency on the X axis, and the brightness is the signal strength.