Feeds

Aliens: coming to a house near you soon

21 May 1999

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

It was five years ago today... The SETI@home project of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) celebrated its fifth birthday this week. Doubtless its many members would have popped a few champagne corks and sported party hats were they not still hard at it looking for ET:

Aliens: coming to a house near you soon

By Pete Sherriff
Published Friday 21st May 1999 14:59 GMT

Home users can now help in the search for intelligent alien lifeforms by downloading a screensaver here that uses their PC’s spare capacity to analyse signals from outer space for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

Since the project's launch earlier this week, over a quarter of a million users are now desperately seeking Klingons in their spare time, so far contributing a staggering 528.25 years of computing resource to the mega project. And some interesting statistics on just what computers are out there -- and how well they perform -- are thrown up by the research. Not surprisingly, x86 architecture tops the list with over 500,000 batches of data despatched for processing so far. The average Intel box takes an average of 35 hours to analyse each chunk of data, although these systems obviously include legendary under-performers such as the 8086, the original Celeron and anything made by Cyrix. Next most popular is the PowerPC which handles the Dalek data in a mere 23 hours, closely followed by SunSPARC which analyses the alien artefacts in just 16 Earth hours.

Alphas (from the dead planet Digitalia) take a mere ten galactic time units (although just how may homes boast an EV5 is open to discussion). More worryingly, some well-known processors appear to have disappeared into a black hole. PA Risc systems have been sent more than 3000 batches of data, none of which have returned. RS/6000s (lots of them in use in semi-detached houses in the Neasden area, no doubt) have been sent 4000 bundles of alien transmissions, but none have come back. MIPS processors have gobbled up over 10,000 sets of data to no discernable effect, while one saddo with a 680x0-based system has also failed to calculate anything.

But perhaps the most concerning result is from an 'unknown' CPU which has received one load of data to which there has been no reply. Perhaps this mystery system could be an early prototype of the legendary Merced processor from the Pentium IV system, just to the left of Andromeda. Drink long and prosper, as the inhabitants of the planet Vulture say.


Well, the SETI project currently has 4999623 users who have delivered 1388080942 results representing 1930934.218 years of CPU time. Naturally, we have our own El Reg team, which you can join here. Happy hunting. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.