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SETI@home @ frozenfire.net
The SETI thing started after reading a magazine article about the group at UC Berkeley who were crunching away at the mountains of data from the radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, in the hope of discovering an intentional radio signal being broadcast from ET.
Mad I hear you say! Well, that depends on your definition of mad - is it naive to think that we are the only chunk of rock in the universe with life on it?
To that extent I've trained my pet machines to do more than sit around looking pretty and put some processing power into helping sift through the stack of data that the SETI@home project is working on.
The software provided by Berkeley is compact and doesn't interfere with the day to day running of your machine. It can be set up in one of two ways. Firstly as a screensaver, chomping away at piles of numbers when your machine is idle (nice graphical front-end) or secondly as an active process, that whizzes through at a greater rate of knots.
For those who like to meddle, there are a host of bolt on modules and applications that work alongside the main seti client. A multitude of platforms are also supported.
I've set up a frozenfire group with SET@home. It's an open invite for anyone to join and contribute to the slow growing pile of completed units of data.
"What do I get out of this?" I hear you ask yourself. Well, a sense of fulfillment when the Martians actually land and ask for you by name or just an egomaniacal mindset, determined to process the largest amount of data.
It's worth doing just for the comedy value - watching my poor old P200 take 8 1/2 days to process one work unit, while my 1.4GHz machine spits them out at a rate of 3 work units a day!
If nothing else, you get a very pretty screen saver, that any Sci-fi fan would love to have chuntering away in the background.
Links to the relevant sites are below -