1. Welcome to the new MacRumors forums. See our announcement and read our FAQ


Discussion in 'Distributed Computing' started by jelloshotsrule, May 4, 2002.

  1. macrumors G3


    i know it's dumb... but what exactly is this thing called seti@home that i keep seeing all over the place? someone enlighten me please.
  2. macrumors 601


    SETI first of all is an acronym for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. There is a big satelite dish down in Arizona somewhere that picks up radio signals that are scanned to see if there is any chance that it's not just "noise" from space. The @home part is just what it sounds like, at home. They break apart the signal into work units that you complete on a screen saver type app on your computer at home, and send back the analysis. As an added bonus, you can form teams and compete with other teams for fun. I used it for a while, but I stopped using it because it used up too much processor, so I couldn't easily run it in the background. Their main website is http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu/

    Try it out if you're interested.
  3. Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Its very cool way to have a screen saver. They also use the big dish in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, you might have seen that in Contact or one of the recent James Bond movies. Its the biggest single radio telescopes in the world. The one in Arizona is larger in its overall receiver size, using multiple dishes that span a distance greater than the one in Arecibo. If we're ever going to get better reception, it will have to be in space, and that will be great, using interferometry you could have a telescope that is effectively 1000 miles in diameter using smaller satellites that cover the distance.

    Nasa has some neat stuff on this, and some of this science might be used in the next space telescope, that will replace the Hubble.
  4. macrumors regular

    I think the observatory you are thinking of is in New Mexico. I live in arizona and I am pretty sure its not here. The new mexico Observatory was featured in the movie contact too.
  5. Moderator emeritus


    Re: seti@home?

    I'm realy glad you asked this question, I too was wondering :D
    I now have the clients installed on my Mac and my PC!
  6. macrumors G3


    ok. so i got it. but i still don't really get what it's doing... it's analyzing signals from the satellite dishes... in what way?

    also, does it save anything to my hard drive? ie, by running it do i take up space on my hard drive (other than the space for the app itself)?

    also, how does one get the "points" that i see? how do they figure that out?

    so if i understand correctly. it's not really something i'd sit there and do or play. as much as just let it sit there and earn me some cycles or something....?

    as for it being a screen saver, i don't really use one and it doesn't look all that appealing to me.. what am i missing?
  7. macrumors 65816

    here's how it works

    first it downloads a work unit. about 300 to 400k usually. it processes it, then uploads the result (usually tiny, like a few k), deletes the old unit and downloads another. the only resource SETI eats up is the processor..the faster the chip, the quicker it will do work units. the screen saver part basically graphs out what data it's analyzing in nice colors. to the user, its a screen saver. to SETI, it's a client that helps them whip through their data at many terraflops per second (thanks to all the participants). you will need to either let it connect automatically to download new units, or you can have it blink its icon when it needs to connect if for example you have a dial-up.

    the analyzation it actually does is pretty complicated, but from what I understand basically its looking for 2 things. one is a series of periodic pulses that could indicate a signal. the other is curve fitting, where basically it takes what to use might sound like noise and sees if the 'static' actually fits a period curve, which could also be a signal. its all explained in their site, although its kinda hard to understand.

    if you really care about SETI, and don't just want a screen saver, you can download the command line client and run it through the terminal, which is pretty easy. most here can help you with that if you need it. the point of the command line client is that it's faster, so you will do more work units.

    I got dual command line clients on my PC running last sunday and combined with the ~4/day that my dual G4 does it looks like I'm going start breaking 100 units/week now :D :D :D

    which is pretty cool since i just broke 1,000 units total a month ago
  8. macrumors G3


    so i take it the score is based on how many units you do? what if you stop it during one...? can it resume or what? it's like 17% through mine after 2 hours....
  9. Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson


    That's still pretty good, a work unit in around 11 to 12 hours. I have an older Power Computing with a G3 upgrade that I was using to run seti on and it took about 25 hours to do a unit. Its obvious why this all got started. All the data they've taken would never have been processed any time soon. There's still more data that we can handle. It will be interesting to see how long it will take the computers to be able to do the analysis in realtime. Probably not for many years to come.
  10. macrumors regular


    The SETI project is actually run by Cornell Univerity at the Arecibo Telescope (largest radio telescope int he world) down in Puerto Rico. If you are interested... their page is http://www.naic.edu/
  11. macrumors G3


    yeah. i would guess that running the thing from the terminal and/or not doing anything else while it runs would be faster.

    i've been doing stuff consistenly since i started it (though nothing too intense)

    ps. i'm on a dual 800.
  12. Guest

    SETI control

    My SETI control documentation shows how to install the Darwin version of the SETI@home client. After the initial registration using a terminal shell, SETI control handles starting, stopping, and display of the state and user information. The dock icon shows the percent completion of the work unit.

    SETI control is made with REALbasic and is freeware.

    Download page:

  13. macrumors 65816


    joining a group

    I just downloaded the command line SETI so that I can help out the Macrumors group at a faster rate but I have NO idea how I join a group. Any help?
  14. macrumors 65816


    Re: joining a group

    Nevermind.... I stopped being a blond and clicked "Join"

Share This Page