Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

SETI at home

SETI@home (SETI at home) is a distributed computing project for home computers, hosted by the University of California, Berkeley. SETI is an acronym for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. SETI@home's purpose is to analyze data incoming from the Arecibo radio telescope, searching for possible evidence of radio transmissions from extraterrestrial intelligence. With nearly 5 million users worldwide, the project is the most successful example of distributed computing to date.

It performs three main tests:

Since 1999, the project has logged over 1 million years of aggregate computing time. On September 26, 2001, SETI@home had performed a total of 1021 floating point operations. While the project has not found any conclusive signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, it has identified several candidate spots for further analysis.

The SETI@home distributed computing software, available for all major operating systems, runs either as a screensaver or continuously while a user works, converting otherwise wasted processor power into useful research.

SETI@home, in addition to its altruistic use to aid SETI, is quite useful as a stress testing tool for computer workstations. Since it uses error-correction algorithms to verify the results of the computations, SETI@home is often used to check on the reliability of a computer configuration when overclocking.

There are future plans to get data from the Parkes radio telescope in Australia to analyse the southern hemisphere.

External links