Oct 142017
A 5-node Raspberry Pi 3 cluster.

A 5-node Raspberry Pi 3 cluster.

Here’s my latest project. I realize I’m late getting on the bandwagon. I heard of the Raspberry Pi ahead of it’s initial introduction way back in February of 2012 but it didn’t pique my interest back then. This past summer, when my interest in SETI@home was again stirred up, I began looking into building a cheap computing cluster. I had long considered buying a set of cheap laptops for the project but none ever hit a reasonable price point for me. In particular, I always considered buying a bunch of Dell Latitude C400 units as I already had one that has been running almost non-stop since I bought it used in 2006. Unfortunately, a complete, working unit never was cheap enough for me.

With the news of the Pi 3 release, I started seeing articles of people building BOINC clusters with them. In particular, I found this YouTube video and it’s sequel, both by KF7IJZ which really illustrated how easy a Pi 3 cluster is to build. So I set about building one for myself.

I’m glad I decided on the Pis rather than the C400. With the two of them running side-by-side, I can see that the Pi is beating the C400 by quite a bit just by looking at the RAC. I’m up to five nodes right now but I intend to eventually have eight nodes and secure it all in some kind of case.

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 WordPress.org.

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.

Oct 292008

First, I’d like to thank Jason Irwin for his original SETI Stats plugin.

This rewritten WordPress plugin displays user stats compiled from the SETI@Home project site. You can display your stats with a widget or with a snippet of PHP code.

  • Member name
  • Join date
  • URL (if applicable)
  • Total credit
  • Recent average credit
  • SETI@Home Classic workunits
  • SETI@Home Classic CPU time
  • Team membership (if applicable)
  • SETI@Home site status
  • Time of last update

You can download this plugin from WordPress.org.

After unzipping the download file, upload the folder “setihome-stats” into your “wp-content/plugins” directory.

Login to the WordPress Administration area, choose “Plugins” from the dashboard, find “SETI@Home Stats”, and click “Activate”.

Choose “Settings->SETI Options” from the main menu and enter your SETI@Home Account number and an interval period for refreshing locally cached stats.

You can also activate the SETI@Home Stats Widget using the sequence described above.

SETI@Home Stats uses a widget to display your stats on the sidebar.

You can display your stats anywhere on your blog using


You can see the plugin at work on the sidebar of this blog.

None that I know of. If you find any please let me know.