Friday, January 5, 2007

Project Profile: Seti@Home

This week's profile is for the SETI@home project, probably the most famous of all distributed computing software projects and the one that gave birth to the BOINC system.

In case you didn't already know, the SETI@home software is a distributed computing project that combs through massive amounts of data returned by radio telescopes (including the famous telescope at Arecibo) in search of signals that could have an intelligent origin. Due to the enormous amounts of data these telescopes collect, the need for computing power to analyze it is immense, and thus the idea of distributed computing was born.

I don't run SETI@home at the moment, although I did run the original SETI@home application many years ago (now called SETI@home classic). I think SETI's methods are somewhat limited, in that they only scan a very narrow band of data, and only radio waves. Any advanced society attempting to communicate would likely use a different method, so I put my computing resources into other projects. I'm not one to only push the projects that I support, however, so if searching for signals from aliens is your thing, go ahead and head to their website and get the software.

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