archive: THE PLANETARY SOCIETY: SETI@home Update


Larry Klaes ( )
Mon, 17 May 1999 09:07:14 -0400

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>SETI@home is a free screensaver program for personal
>computers that will allow people everywhere to join the
>search for extraterrestrial intelligence. It will be available
>Monday, May 17.
>If ET Calls, Will You Be Listening?
>Three years in the making, SETI@home - a free screensaver that analyzes
>data from the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence -- will
>be available on-line for the general public on May 17, 1999. Developed at
>University of California, Berkeley, and sponsored by the Planetary Society,
>the SETI@home project will allow ordinary citizens worldwide the chance to
>actually participate in the search for intelligent life elsewhere in our
>Louis Friedman, Executive Director of the Planetary Society, said, "With
>SETI@home, anyone, anywhere could be the person who helps discover
>intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. This is a grand experiment
>in science, in technology and in society -- and a global cooperative effort
>at the frontiers of knowledge."
>SETI@home is an innovative screen-saver program that will harness the spare
>computing power of hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected personal
>computers around the world to crunch data from the radio telescope at
>Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
>SETI@home is led by David Anderson, a Visiting Scientist at UC Berkeley,
>and by Dan Werthimer, director of UC Berkeley's SERENDIP SETI program.
>The project was conceived by computer scientist David Gedye.
>"SETI@home is a way of harnessing all the idle computers to increase our
>computing capacity and our chance of finding extraterrestrials," Werthimer
>The project's initial funding came from the Planetary Society. Other
>sponsors include the University of California Berkeley, Sun Microsystems,
>Fujifilm Computer Products, and Informix. Paramount Pictures provided
>funding to the Planetary Society for this project in connection with the
>opening of the movie, Star Trek: Insurrection.
>SETI@home will tap into the enormous power of hundreds of thousands of
>personal computers. 400,000 people have already signed up to receive the
>screensaver program once it becomes available. They range from young
>students to retirees, and from professional engineers to newcomers to the
>In the grand scheme of data crunching, SETI@home's creators think the
>program has the potential to change the manner in which SETI data are
>evaluated. By the time 50,000 to 100,000 PCs are involved, the scope of
>the search will rival other current SETI projects. SETI@home may indeed
>detect a signal that would otherwise be missed.
>SETI@home imports SETI data from the Internet and then processes it
>whenever the computer is idle. After a batch of data is completely
>processed, the computer will send it back and get a new chunk of data the
>next time the user logs into the Internet.
>Any interesting signal is marked in the automatic processing and will be
>later analyzed at the main computer site by the project scientists. If that
>signal were determined to be a candidate for extraterrestrial intelligence,
>it would then have to be analyzed and confirmed by independent data from
>other sources before a positive identification could be made.
>If such a signal is found using the SETI@home program, the person whose
>computer crunched that vital bit of data will go down in history as helping
>to forever alter humanity's view of our place in the universe.
>The screensaver program will show, in real time, the analysis taking place
>on each individual computer and will explain the significance of each
>result. In addition, participants can view maps showing where the
>SETI@home project is searching and who is taking part in the project.
>To sign-up, go to The Planetary Society's website at:
>If you've already signed up, go to:
>Please send comments to Cynthia Kumagawa at:
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>Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded the Society in
>1979 to advance the exploration of the solar system and to continue
>the search for extraterrestrial life. With 100,000 members in over 140
>countries, the Society is the largest space interest group in the world.
>Copyright 1999 The Planetary Society. All Rights Reserved.