Time to put those spare CPU cycles to some good use!
There have been a few threads about SETI in the past, but no one has actually explained it to the people who have never heard of it. And if you've never heard of it, you're not as big of a nerd as people say you are.
So just what the heck is SETI, anyway?
So essentially what it does is use your spare CPU cycles to look at data collected from those big 'ol radio telescopes: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 analyzes radio telescope data.
They point these things at the sky & all they do is listen to radio noise from outer space. They take this data, split it up into little chunks, and you download it onto your PC. Your PC then searches the data for anything that looks out of the ordinary that may be extraterrestrial in origin (alien TV?). It does this by running a screensaver that you download from SETI, and it only runs when your PC is idle.
Each chunk (or work unit) is uploaded back to SETI once your PC is done analyzing the data. The more work units you complete, the uhh, bigger geek you are, I guess. No, they actually give electronic recognition certificates for 'work unit milestones' - 100, 250, 500, etc.
Got|Apex has a team set up that you can join to contribute your work units to the team's total.
So why bother? What's the point? If your PC is the one that finds something REALLY out of the ordinary, fame, notoriety and riches will not be yours, but it sure is something interesting to tell the grandkids.
Also - you can compare who can complete a work unit the fastest. Sorry to us Windows users - UNIX & OS X will probably blow us away in this category. Of course, it'll still be a while before ribitch catches up with me!
Join the Got|Apex team
FAQs about the Seti@Home project
Read about the SETI Institute
Read up on the Satellite Arrays