4.6 years later, no aliens found

Wed Mar 30 14:44:23 2005 EST (-0500 GMT)

If anyone is not familiar with the SETI@Home project you must not be too familiar with the internet. SETI@Home is the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence using distributed computing. Thousands, if not millions, of computers are currently using there spare time to crunch packets of telescope information sent to them from the SETI at home servers. When a computer is done it sends the information back and the lets the SETI team know if that part of the sky is worth taking a closer look into.

Most Windows machines use a screen saver to make sure that the work is done while the computer is idle. Mac OSX and Linux machines allow you to run a process in ‘nice’ mode, as in play nice with others. This tells a process/program to wait for everything else to be processed then jump in line for the CPU. I run setiathome on my home server 24/7 at nice 19, the highest level of playing nice. My home server needs to always be on for others to grab files & music from it, or check web pages. It also houses all my backups and lets me get at my files from anyplace with internet access. So it’s always on, but as penitence for using that power it’s always crunching SETI information, work that need to be done anyway.

My laptop runs the screen saver and my father’s PC in Markham does too. A few of my work Mac’s run SETI overnight (because I want all my applications open when I get into work the next day). Again, I figure as long as they are on they might as well be doing something.

As for the stress on these computers: There’s some concern that all this 100% CPU usage might ware down the front-side bus, but otherwise a CPU is not like a car – it either works or doesn’t (1 or 0), there is no degradation. For the record though, hard drives to degrade.

Do I think I’ll find artificial intelligence? Me? No. But there is an outside chance that SETI might find something some day, and this model of computing has already proven that it can assemble the world’s largest super computer – so that’s something. Like most of science, this is a search that is worth doing, regardless of the outcome.

Here’s my SETI@Home stats as of right now — the latest info can be found here :

Your credit:
Name (and URL)
Matt Clare
Results Received 2698
Total CPU Time

4.659 years
Average CPU Time per work unit 15 hr 07 min 38.6 sec
Average results received per day

Last result returned: Wed Mar 30 18:28:33 2005 UTC
Registered on: Sat Oct 28 20:16:16 2000 UTC
  View Registration Class
SETI@home user for: 4.422 years
Your group info:
You belong to the group named: Team Slashdot
You are not currently the founder of any teams.
Your rank: (based on current workunits received)
Your rank out of 5388175 total users is: 123379th place.
The number of users who have this rank: 47
You have completed more work units than 97.709% of our users.
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