The “distributed computing” project known as SETI@home just celebrated its 10th anniversary. For the past decade, thousands of volunteers have loaned the experiment a little bit of their personal computers’ idle capacity to help in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence in the universe. There’s no sign of ET yet, but the San Francisco Chronicle’s Science Editor David Perlman reports that the quest continues–and has a lot to be proud of.
The same technology that stitches together 235,000 PCs around the world to create a supercomputer for SETI@home now powers nearly a hundred other such research projects, according to Perlman. These range from Rosetta@home, which helps chart possible new designs for proteins, to Einstein@home, which sifts satellite data for evidence that may prove Einstein’s prediction of gravity waves.
Want to volunteer your computer to pitch in whenever it’s not fully occupied? (Many of these programs have cool dashboards that let you tune in to the analysis and learn a bit about the underlying science.) Visit the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing and check out the list of projects to choose from.