Distributed Computing SETI@home Software

SETI@home: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at HOME

What is SETI@home?

SETI@home is a scientific experiment that uses internet connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Participants use a free program that downloads and analyses radio telescope data. The program can also be used to participate in several other non SETI@home projects.

My background

I joined the SETI@home project in May 1999 and I would run SETI@home continuously for months at a time. Since the transition to BOINC I have had short runs, often a month at a time running SETI@home and other BOINC projects around the clock. I now tend to stop crunching in the summer months so that I’m not increasing the temperatures in my very warm home.

I am the current founder of the SETI@home team SETI.UK

Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home

I believe that extraterrestrial life must exist. The size of the known universe is such that the chance of their not being any other life but that on our own planet seems remote. I don’t know when we will discover extraterrestrial life. Given the distance between solar systems and other galaxy’s it’s hard to predict. Could be today, or maybe not for a million years or perhaps even longer.

I think that if we were to discover extraterrestrial life it would mean that we would have to rethink our attitudes towards life on a whole. With questions like “Who are we?” and “Where are we going?”.

I believe that any beacon would have to have immense power to send out a signal for extraterrestrials to receive given the distance between possible inhabited planetary bodies. Any beacon should only include something very basic, possibly some basic mathematical sequence to distinguish the signal as artificial and from something intelligent. The prospect of any spoken Earth language being comprehended is probably hard to expect from any extraterrestrial life forms.

I run SETI@home for a number of reasons. First of all, when it first launched it was one of the first projects to take advantage of the immense computer time wasted by home and office personal computers. Second, for myself to contribute to some world-wide effort. Even though my contribution is only small overall, it is still a visible contribution. SETI@home is truly a world-wide project which has brought together millions of people through the internet on a single task – the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

SETI@home allows individual people to contribute to a worthwhile endeavour in our exploration of space.


My Hobbies – HTML and Webdesign

Since around 1998 I’ve been interested in creating websites. I like to experiment, to see how small adjustments can have dramatic effects on the final product. I became interested in the workings behind websites after I first got online. With the use of Geocities, I played around with the code for a bit of fun. Soon afterwards, my high school I.T. teacher introduced those who were interested to the building blocks of HTML. It did not continue for long, but it had me hooked.

Also While at high school I took on the job of editor of the high school’s online science website, which involved editing the homepage while students submitted work using their own style and coding. as you can imagine, it did’nt look nice, but we had fun and all learnt something in the process.

After I got tired with geocities advertisements and restrictions, I tried experimenting with some free space provided by techno2day. This was my first experiment with tables and so on and I was really getting confident with the less restrictive environment. Unfortunatley, the host closed suddenly and I lost all of my work! I then moved to tripod and set up a new site, again using only my knowledge of HTML. Here I played around more, experimented with JavaScripts and so on.

When Yahoo! took over Geocities I moved back to them. I found Yahoo’s servers made the service fast and reliable. But again, I found myself restricted. So I took the plunge and took out a paid for hosting account with Ghoulnet. I could not believe how unrestricted the service was (Well, when compared to Geocities and so on!). For the most part I’ve stook with this provider ever since. Even though I loved playing with HTML I never went any further with expanding my webdesign knowledge. I had planned to enter the world of Information Technology at A-Level when I was 16, but life played out differently.

What you see today is just produced by what I do as a hobby. I do maintain a number of websites for others, a portfolio of which can be seen below.

This is the website of a Pre-School group who operate in the Wigan area of Greater
Manchester, UK. I created and maintain the site, which has now been live for four
years. The site uses Macromedia Flash extensively and was built using Moonfruit
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