Nov 012008

Back in 2000 I was working for Intel. I worked in a lab that had a lot of client computers powered up but doing nothing. Some coworkers turned me on to SETI@Home and we started a little game of running it on as many otherwise jobless computers as were running in our lab. At one point I had a line-up of six headless desktop computers each running an Intel P2 and Linux just to run the SETI@Home task. They were tucked under a desk and one of them served as a router for the other five to provide Internet access. I liked to jokingly think of that as my own personal “supercomputer”.

My interest in SETI@Home never waned. In the last eight years I’ve had several computers pass through my hands and I always installed SETI@Home sooner or later. My last laptop was a Dell P3 running Windows XP. Windows XP absolutely killed the performance of the laptop so I long delayed installing SETI@Home. Recently I began taking an online MS course at Colorado State University. That provided the impetus to buy a new laptop. I bought an HP Pavilion with an AMD Turion 64. Now that I’ve got a new laptop my interest in SETI@Home has flared up once again. I’ve installed SETI@Home on the new laptop and it is fast. I’ve also relegated the old Dell P3 to doing nothing but running the SETI@Home task in a quite corner of the house where the constant whirring of the CPU fan won’t drive my wife crazy.

Not stopping there, I began scouring the Internet for a WordPress plugin to display my SETI@Home participation on my blog. In past searches I had found Jason Irwin’s SETI Stats plugin. It was an effective plugin except that it used a mobile device URL for the stats data source. That data source didn’t provide the depth of stats that I wanted to display on my blog. Using Jason’s plugin, I rewrote the source code to use a more robust data source and I included a sidebar widget. The rewritten plugin is now hosted at

After all that introduction, here are my SETI@Home stats:

Supporting SETI@Home is an endless task and there are many other distributed processing projects out there. I encourage anyone with CPU time to spare to get involved in any of them. For those interested in combating disease there’s Folding@home which I’ve heard some folks argue is a much more “practical” project to spend CPU cycles on compared to SETI. Another distributed computing project that searches space is the Einstein@Home project. Unlike SETI, E@H is looking for spinning neutron stars also known as pulsars.

Obviously, my favorite is SETI@Home hosted by University of California, Berkeley. If you leave at least one computer constantly running with little to do I recommend installing any one of the above tasks to put your computer to good use on a distributed computing project that suits your interest.

  2 Responses to “My SETI@Home Participation”

  1. i have been using seti@home on and off since 99. and i am dying to share my results on my web page. the version of word press I’m using does not seem to like your plug-in even though i have used it on many different versions without issue. is there any way you could contact me and help me work out an HTML script that does the same thing so i can just throw it into a text box on my sidebar? if not that’s fine I’m sure your a busy man. but either way great work on the plug in. and I’m envious of your cpu time!

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