CPU initiative wasted on extra terrestrials
Forget SETI, why not the public genome project?
People's processors on their machines at work and at home are being wasted finding out whether there is intelligent life off-planet, while on this planet, the public genome project does not have as many clock cycles as a US corporation. (Well, we suppose that some people believe the Roswell story that all CPUs were discovered when some alien dead bodies turned up close to Albuquerque -- we know quite a lot of people seem to be.) SETI, which stands for the search for extraterrestrial life, has successfully persuaded a large number of people to participate by contributing spare CPU time in order to make an attempt to interpret a massive amount of radio noise emanating from the universe. Celera, which uses Alpha Wildfire technology, is on the verge of finally cracking the human genome, it announced at the end of last week. A joint project sponsored by the UK and US government is lagging behind Celera's efforts. But CPUs all over the planet could be used by the UK and US government to accelerate the public genome effort. It is a massive number crunching job and all it needs is for the boffins who designed the SETI project to contribute their programming skills and use spare microprocessor time. One reader commented: "A public distributed CPU system wouldn't really work as well as the SETI system because, although the SETI data packets can be processed independently, genomics relies on having access to larger datasets to search against, which means lots of downloading. "Only really appropriate for machines on a permanent Internet connection and spare bandwidth. Still a nice idea though." Another reader commented: "I don't think it's a question of whether or not the public would get involved, it has more to do with industry and government opening up to new ideas. BTW, what's more of a waste, SETI@Home or idle CPU cycles?" That one, even we cannot answer. But we also thought that maybe it's a great idea to start using idle CPU cycles to start churning through ancient databases, so people can find out about their family roots...® RegiStroid .18µ The National Security Agency (NSA) has 1500 acres of computing space and even its own .13µ semiconductor fabrication fab, according to extraordinarily reliable sources. Now we'd just love some of those idle CPU cycles... See also Alpha chip powers Celera genome burst Readers solve Pentium III laws of physics dilemma