Anyone Here Use SETI@Home ?

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LouisvilleScanMan

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I downloaded the SETI@home program a few days ago and I think it's pretty cool.

For those who don't know what SETI@home is here's how it works,

the Arecibo radio telescope in Costa Rica scans the skies and receives about 28 million frequencies at once looking for signals (like stars, pulsars, quasars, novas, ET's...ect).

Arecibo sends the raw data to the University of California for anlysis. But theres a problem, there is so much data that it would take a supercomputer larger then any ever built to process the data in any sort of a timely manner.What to do?

to make data processing faster and easier UC Berkeley developed the SETI@home program which uses YOUR computer to process the data. This is done by breaking the data down into small portions called work units which are about 0.25 MB in size, these work units are sent to the SETI@home volunteers' PCs which work on anylizing the signal data while the computer is idle. When the computer is done it sends the data to UC, UC in turn sends your computer a new work unit.

Right now there are over 2.5 million SETI@home volunteers in the US alone and about 4 million in other countries. Together the combined computing power is enough to process the huge amount of data coming from the telescope. But they could always use more to speed up the process.

So now that you newcomers know about SETI@home, does anyone else here have it?
 

ryangassxx

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I just downloaded it... seems pretty cool... If nothing else it's a wicked screen saver.. Is the stuff on the screen saver ACTUALLY the real work being done, or is that just a fancy fake thing?
 

n4yek

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No, it's actually showing you what it is doing. All the years I was doing it, I only had 2 signals of interest that my computer actually found and sent back to SETI. I never heard anything from them about what it found and after a few e-mails that went un-replied to my inquiry about them I figured they didn't need me to help them anymore. I am sure it was nothing, but just to say, 'it was just a pulsar...' or something to that effect would at least made me think they actually cared enough to acknowledge that you are helping.
Maybe they have changed their way, but it left me feeling un-needed.
 

LouisvilleScanMan

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No, it's really doing the anlysis as you see it. N4YEK You shouldn't feel discouraged, there are over 2.5 million people on the USA alone using the program and more in other countries so they probably get a lot of emails. Maybe you should have tried the SETI@home forums.
 
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n9mxq

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Just removed it from 5 computers here.. Tired of having to tell Vista that it was alright to run the program....And tired of waiting for a version I don't have to.
 

WP4MZR

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the Arecibo radio telescope in Costa Rica ....
It is located in Puerto Rico.....Big a$$ dish.

I used to run SETI and Rosetta@Home on and off since it started on 2 to 4 machines at the same time, but energy cost make me change my mind, I stopped crunching about 2 years ago.
 

nitroboie

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I usually crunch on and off. The movie "Contact" really made Seti popular when it came out. It's an interesting program, but I just lose/gain interest with the program in spurts.
 

LouisvilleScanMan

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I think the program sends the finished data to Cali and they check for candidate signals and according to the SETI@home site if your computer is the one that finds the signal you get credit on the SETI@home site.
 

walterb

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I used to and got a few hundred packets sent back. However when they added a bunch of non SETI stuff (ie, GENE-OME, etc.) the version didn't work, and I uninstalled it.
 

kc9neq

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i used it on a windows me program it was pretty cool. i could never get it to work correctly on a windows xp media center. i emailed seti but never received a reply as to why it would not work on xp media center.
 

KC4RAF

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Same as nmize, but I used win98, (yes that was a long time ago).

Then I downloaded it on XP and it never would work correctly. Tried emailing and their forum to no avail. Still interested in running it, but if it don't work on my machine then I'll not download it. (I tried to run it 3 different times over a 7 months period. never worked in the screensaver mode.)
 

poltergeisty

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^^ Ran it when I used Win '98 :lol: Loooong time ago. It's been that long? Ten damn years! Wow!
Remember reading in Popular Mechanics about building your own dish to search for extra terrestrial's

I have a quad and a dual that I ran f@H on, but after I was banned from another forum I stopped. Now I need to join another group. :lol:
 
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chgomonitor

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Thoughts on SETI Project

-Ran it for years on older Mac's and for a year or two on an XP multimedia Gateway 840GM with a broadband connection. I always felt it was sort of "feel good" software. Neat screen saver, LOL. I suppose in reality each user is only making a drop in the ocean contribution, but if nobody took part, there'd be no ocean.

Their home page has a ton of links to interesting related pages and projects, including some other distributed computing efforts. But I was disappointed that they really don't have a lot info on the current status of the findings.

I may be wrong, but it seems like they have limited observing windows at Arecibo and then the project reverts to number crunching. The last time I visited, if I read the stats correctly (and maybe I didn't) the current observations had been sifted though via the distributed computing network more than 3 times over. Seemed like overkill to me.

It was rare for me to watch the thing crunching away for more than a few hours without it detecting some sort of probably low probability candidate signal. They use 4 or 5 different criteria for sifting purposes, pretty neat. Naturally, anything suspicious would then require extensive spot checking and a great deal of research for discounting non-ETI signals. I'm not sure about to what extent that work gets done.

My bigger problem is with their search technique. They are only looking at a fairly narrow swath of spectrum, around 1.4-1.5 GHz if memory serves. And they use incredibly narrow bandwidth receivers, a few hertz. Hence "millions of channels" but not covering much useful spectrum.

Most of these efforts only look in bands reserved for radio astronomy and/or quiet regions of the spectrum (quiet in the astronomical sense). And VHF and below generally doesn't get through earth's atmosphere. Many local sites are plagued with the same sort of earth bound interference we suffer with, though some radio telescopes are fortunate enough to be surrounded by radio quiet zones. (They still have problems).

Its kind of like the guy who lost a nickel in the alley but they find him down on the corner looking for it, because "the light's better here".

I suspect a satellite (or better, lunar) based observing platform, searching 10-2000 MHz at 10 or 25 KHz bandwidths might well have a much better chance of detecting something in use. These band are a lot more practical for land mobile / aeronautical / space communications, as we well know. "They" may be using radically different technology but it's hard to get around the laws of physics as they apply to RF propagation.

There's another camp which considers radio communications in general to be a pretty simplistic and essentially archaic method of conveying information - very wasteful and inefficient. The thinking is that as a technological civilization evolves they would move away from radio technologies, especially from omni-directional, high power transmissions. So it might well be that we'd only have a "time window" of a couple of hundred years to give us a chance at hearing them.

Happily, there are several other large scale SETI projects hard at work. But in general, the concept is under funded. Sure would be neat if somebody actually found something.

Personally, I like the SETI at Home project. I just might re-install the software. Better than nothing?

Happy scanning! - Ted
 
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