Seti@Home revisited.

Recently I realized I had 2-3 machines here in Chez Geek that were basically idle 95% of the time. I did regular work on them (one is the server for my CONGO cluster, the other is my Windows XP box that I use for, er, very important projects and, er, other network er… monitoring… stuff.
Ahem. Anyway, the Seti@Home project lets your home computer act as one of the computation engines for the SETI project, by downloading small chunks of data the big radio telescopes pick up and analyzing them looking for potential signals from remote civilizations.
The Seti@home project, when originally started back in 1997-ish, ended up being a geek computation contest, as folks banded into teams to see who had the most computing power. Companies like Sun Microsystems ran the Seti@Home client on many of their internal machines (the program runs when the machine is not busy doing other things, which for many computers in the world, is about 90% of the time), and racked up huge quantities of ‘work units’ (the measure of how much work a seti client has done).
Last year the Seti@Home project switched over to BOINC, a more versatile system that allows arbitrary computation to be run on all those idle computers. BOINC has been used for numerous projects, not just Seti.
Unfortunately, today it appears the Seti@Home and BOINC are offline, apaprently due to some power outage in Berkely. Today my poor computers are truly idle, and have nothing to do.
I wonder if they’re bored?

Dave Shevett


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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