The SETI@home project

11 Conversations

Do you wonder if there is life anywhere else in the universe? I do!
Do you want to find out? Is your computer often working, without really being in use? Then maybe you should join the SETI@home project!

What SETI@home is about

A group of scientists are scanning a large part (about one third) of the sky with a large radio-telescope from the Arecibo observatory. They're planning to keep that up for about 2 years. All incoming data is recorded in real-time, giving an enormous amount of tape with lots of noise. this has to be sorted out ofcourse.

And that's where YOU come in. The data that is recorded, is then split up in small packets of roughly 340kB, and these packets can be downloaded and processed by the computers of all participants.
When you decide to join the effort, you first download a screensaver from the SETI@home homepage, and install it. After installation, you log in and collect your first packet of raw data. The screensaver will start processing it, whenever you're not using your machine. When the packet is completely processed, the screensaver will want access to internet to upload its findings and collect a new workload.

Background-mode, or how to get the most out of SETI@home

When SETI@home is up and running, double-click its icon in the system-tray, then click on "settings" and configure the program to work in background-mode. Also configure SETI@home to switch to blank-screen immediately when the screensaver mode is invoked.
The advantage of this mode is, that each package is processed in much less time (up to 4 times as fast). A drawback is that the program uses quite some resources.
If you own 400MHz (or faster) PC with 128MB of memory or more, you won't notice much under normal circumstances, but systems with less speed and/or memory may become a bit sluggish.

The sluggishness can be overcome, however:

If your system is not fast enough to comfortably work with SETI@home continuously running, switch to screensaver-mode when you're working, and switch to background-mode when you plan to leave your system for an extended period of time.

For more information and download

If you want to know more about it, or have already decided to download the program and start helping out, click on SETI@home to view their page.

H2G2 Researchers for SETI@home

When you're running the SETI@home program, then maybe you'd also like to join the H2G2 group-effort. If so, then please Meet the H2G2 Researchers for SETI@home here, see how they're doing, and follow the instructions on joining.
It's really quite simple.

Some interesting facts/links

  • The situation at Sat May 6 05:01:41 2000 UTC looked like this:

    TotalLast 24 Hours
    Results received117632521621196
    Total CPU time271330.63 years1163.15 years
    Floating Point
    (14.38 TeraFLOPs/sec)
    Average CPU time
    per work unit
    20 hr 12 min 20.8 sec16 hr 24 min 09.0 sec
  • Meet the H2G2 Researchers for SETI@home here, see how they're doing, and join them if you wish.
  • History of the SETI@home H2G2 Researchers Group1 highlights some special events.
  • The Drake Equation2 gives information about the chances of finding intelligent life out there.

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