nV News, along with many other special interest groups, is taking part in the SETI@home project. SETI stands for the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence and has been running for many years, although it only had the computing power to analyze data covering a small band of the spectrum. SETI@home allows users to process this data on our home computers.
SETI@home has well over three million users users and has analyzed over one million years worth of processing time. The nV News SETI Team is a group of users who are pooling our results together to process more data than we could individually. Our aim is to make the nV News team one of the most popular contributors to the project.
HOW SETI WORKS
SETI data can be processed in one of two ways. First, SETI can be set up to run on your computer all the time. Or you can set it up as a screensaver. The screensaver is the prefered method as it only uses system resources when your processor is inactive. However, to maximize the performance of SETI, you'll definitely want to use the command line version of the client which is covered in the section on maximizing SETI performance.
The SETI client program will connect to the Internet, download radio telescope data to your PC, and analyze it. The analysis can take anywhere from about 5 to 40 hours depending on the capabilities of your system and how you set the SETI client program up. After the program has finished analyzing a set of data, which is referred to as a "work unit", it will connect itself to the Internet, return the results, and obtain a new work unit.
WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN
Here are a few reasons why you may want to join the nV News SETI team:
There is a small chance of discovering intelligent alien life. You will be listed as a co-discoverer and your name will go down in the history books.
You will be taking part and contributing to the largest experiment in distributed computing to date.
"My PC? Oh, it's just analyzing radio telescope data for the SETI project." Sounds very impressive in front of your friends.
Do you want a screen saver that displays pictures of fish (when nobody is there to see them anyway), or do you want your PC to spend it spare time constructively?
To join the nV News SETI team, go to the SETI@home Home Page and download the latest version of the client for your operating system. After you set it up and create an account, you can then join the nV News SETI Team by clicking here.
MAXIMIZING SETI PERFORMANCE
Once the novelty of the pretty graphics of the screensaver wears off, you can set it to blank screen after 0 minutes. This option will display a boring black screen when the screensaver is active, but it will increase your data processing speed significantly.
If you want to get the absolute best performance, you should download and install the Windows NT command line client (look for the file named i386-winnt-cmdline.exe). This isn't as cool to look at, but is about 30% faster than the normal client even with blank screen set to 0 minutes. The NT command line client also runs on Windows 98, 2000, and XP, but NOT Windows 95.
SETI Command Line Client (with -verbose parameter)
Adding -verbose as a parameter to the command line executable displays the progress of your work unit: