Feeds

Aliens: coming to a house near you soon

21 May 1999

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Apple CEO Tim Cook: My well-known gayness is 'a gift from GOD'
'I have benefited from the sacrifice of others'
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
Now: The REAL APPLE NEWS you need to know
OMG! Gravity's totes amazeballs. Calm down, George Clooney, not your film
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Let's make an app that POSTS your POO to APPLE HQ
Plus: It's OPEN WARFARE in the Linux greybeard world
Adorkable overshare of words like photobomb in this year's dictionaries
And hipsters are finally defined as self-loathing. Sort of
Not a loyal follower of @BritishMonarchy? You missed The QUEEN*'s first Tweet
Her Maj opens 'Information Age' at the Science Museum
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.