How does Setihome use your Computer

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The [email protected] program is an ingenious program that uses your computer to search for extra-terrestrials life in the universe.

There is no cost to use the [email protected] program and the organization runs as a non-profit organization for purposes of donations and private support. 

There are two types of software processing methods used with the Seti software. 

The Seti system is housed at the University of California: Berkeley campus.  They use a space radio telescope at a location in South America named Arecibo.  Arecibo searches the sky for radio signals that could represent extra-terrestrial communication attempts.  The data collected at Arecibo is sent to the Seti staff members in Berkeley where they are divided up into bite-size chunks of data called Work Units (WU’s).  These WU’s are then sent out to the millions of computers participating in the project world-wide.  The processing of the work units is commonly referred to as “crunching”. 

There are two types of crunching that can be done.

First is what are called MB WU’s.  These units use the standard processing power of your computers.  For example if you have a Dual-Core computer, you can process two work-units at a time.  If you are blessed to have one of the newer Intel Core I-7 machines, you will be able to process as many as 8 work-units at a time.

You can download software packages from third-party groups for free to speed up the time your computer uses to process each unit.

The second type of WU are called GPU WU’s.  These WU’s use your Graphics card and their faster capabilities to run WU’s in a much faster manner.  The Nvidia brand graphics cards are what the software supports by default and tend to work best.  There are third-party groups that offer enhancement software that lets the ATI type of graphics cards process WU’s as well.

After the WU is processed it is automatically returned to the Berkeley systems.  Each WU is sent out to 3 people to crunch on their computers.  After each WU is returned 3 times with similar results found the people who crunched it receive credit.  The reason people download and use these free enhancement packages are the quicker processing or “crunching” of the WU’s.  The quicker the processing of the Work Units, the sooner people receive credit for the work the computer did and the more WU’s you can crunch in a 24-hour period.  Credits are not actually worth anything but are more of a status point in the [email protected] world.

Those of us who crunch hope we will be the person to find the elusive ET signal out there.

This is how you can put your computer’s abilities to good use with the [email protected] system.

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