Are we alone in this Universe?
question that every era of man has pondered but no-one been
able to work out.
There are many pages dedicated to SETI@home, but there is
no better place to learn about SETI than the Official SETI
website. A good place to start is "Learn
About SETI and SETI@home".
That said, here is my little summary of the project for
those that don't want to read very much. It points out
the main points I think.
SETI@home is a scientific experiment
that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for
Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by
running a free program that downloads and analyses (in
screensaver mode or in the background) radio
The masterminds behind the SETI@Home are a group of
astronomers and engineers who are attached to the SETI project
based at the University of California–Berkeley.
The SETI program only needs to connect for a
few minutes to download 1 work unit (approx 370K). After
that all work is done offline by the program until the work
unit is fully analysed, at which stage you send back the
results and get your next unit.
Work Units for each star takes a huge number of
calculations. All up, there are around 175,000,000,000
calculations required to process a single Work Unit for a
given star! In computer terms that is between 10
100 hours of offline idle screensaver time (very much
depending on your
computer speed) for your computer to analyse the data.
Line of SETI@Home
20 November 1998
Began recording data at Arecibo Radio Telescope
17 May 1999
Official launch of SETI@home project
600,000 participants on-board in only four weeks
1 million users participating after only three months
Accrued over 100,000 CPU Years of computer time
Over 2 Million participants and 300,000 CPU years
Over 2.8 Million participants and 600000 CPU years
Over 3.7 Million participants and 1 MILLION CPU years!
To see current stats on number of users world wide and
total CPU years click
The huge number of participants is significant. They do not represent the governments or granting bodies that normally fund scientific projects. They are ordinary human beings from all walks of life, and all corners of the globe.
The project is a means by which ordinary people can have a say in the scientific projects they choose to support, rather than leaving it up to the politicians and the bureaucrats.
Each computer that runs the program adds to the chance of
finding Extraterrestrial Intelligence! Every Work Unit (chunk
of data) contributes towards the goal of listening to every star in
Arecibo’s sky two or three times.
It only takes one Work Unit to find ETI! It just
has to be the right one.
If ETI is found an the IAU telegram will be sent out (the
normal protocol for announcing major astronomy discoveries to
the world press).
If your computer processed the Work Unit containing the
signal, your name will be listed along with the SETI@home
researchers as having made the discovery!
Our team is a group of people that have come together to support SETIs
effort. Originally this team was created for Flinders
University Hall residents (a residential college at Flinders
Uni) but as friends started to invite other friends and family
(and even total strangers!). Recently we changed our
team name to "SETI Synergy" a team for
everyone and ANYONE who wants to crunch with us!