“Space: The final frontier.” – Captain Kirk
That phrase has been uttered by many Enterprise Captains but it still, always gives me goosebumps. You see, I’m a space nut. No, I can’t tell you every star in our visible sky but I have the spirit to go see other worlds and cultures. So when I first heard about the Seti@home project (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) and how I could help them look for alien life, I signed up immediately.
Around the earth there are many telescopes pointed at the heavens. They record every observation, every second, of every day. As you can imagine, that is a ton of data. So much so, that one computer can’t process all of the packets of information. Enter the Seti@home project. By running a program on a home computer, you can download packets and, using your computer, you can look through the data for, what they have defined as anomalies. It could be strange pulses, new planets, or (one can only hope) the sound of a sneeze from extra terrestrial intelligence a billion miles away.
The software program, called Bonic, takes up minimum space on your computer and only processes when the computer is not being used. For your work on the project, they award you Computer Credit. Its not worth anything (yet), but its fun to watch the numbers go up. I’m pleased to announce: Sometime last week, I hit 1,000,000 credits done for the project.
If space isn’t your thing, Seti@home isn’t the only project that the software processes. Listed here are the projects and a brief description of what the project aims to accomplish. So, if space isn’t your thing, Maybe you would like to do some humanitarian research (World Community Grid), or predict climate changes (Climate Prediction), or maybe even do some protein folding (Rosetta@home) to cure disease. There are many others listed so where ever your interest lies, there may be a project (or two) for you to participate in. If you do decide to do Seti@home, look me up and add me as a friend: PGerringer.