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Sun Microsystems Software

SETI@Home Expanding Goals With Sun's Help 133

GabeK writes "The Register is reporting that the SETI@home project is going to be expanding the scope of their project with the help of Sun. Sun is donating a fleet of servers to the SETI@home project for use in its new BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) project. This project will use Sun's new JXTA peer-to-peer protocol for distributed computing, and will add other functions to the project other than looking for little green men. Users will now be able to dedicate slices of their idle time to projects other than SETI, like cancer research and climate mapping." We previously mentioned early word of BOINC a couple of months back.
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SETI@Home Expanding Goals With Sun's Help

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  • BOINK? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:25AM (#7752935)
    is BOINC really the best acronym they could come up with?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:31AM (#7752965)
      ..we're geeks, this is the only BOINC we're going to get.
    • Re:BOINK? (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You're absolutely right. When you rearrange the letters in "Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing", you get "grep for weekly beefcake pron units trout, court in morn". Much better, don't you think?
    • Re:BOINK? (Score:3, Informative)

      by illtud ( 115152 )
      Boink is an old usenet term for a Real World get together, a meat, a meatspace meeting:

      http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF -8 &oe=utf-8&safe=off&q=boink&sa=N&tab=wg

      Can't for the life of me remember where the term came from, but I wonder if that was in their minds.
      (yes, I know it's boinc).
    • "is BOINC really the best acronym they could come up with?"

      I hope the screensaver program opens with the noise made by the power droids of the original *Star Wars* movie (Episode IV - A New Hope)...the power droids would walk around and say "bonk!"

      http://www.starwars.com/databank/droid/powerdroi d/ index.html

  • I still can't see any information on their website as to when they will upgrade to BOINC.. Which is a shame.. I'm a top 5000 user and I want to switch ASAP :)
    • Re:Upgrade time? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MoonFog ( 586818 ) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:30AM (#7752961)
      From this [berkeley.edu] page:
      BOINC is under development. The source code and bug-tracking database are available. We are currently conducting a beta test of BOINC using the SETI@home and Astropulse applications. The public release will be announced on the SETI@home web site. Several other distributed computing projects are evaluating BOINC.

      Guess it will be some time yet.
  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:29AM (#7752956) Homepage
    Expanding the scope of SETI@Home, eh? So like SETI@Work, SETI@Car, SETI@Vacation, SETI@LunchBreak and such? Sounds good!
  • here's a thought (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pompatus ( 642396 ) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:32AM (#7752969) Journal
    Why don't we combine this new idea of distributed computing with a P2P network? It should be technically feasable, and then the eff [eff.org] people could run an ad campain such as, "The RIAA is against Kazaa. Kazaa cures cancer. Therefore, RIAA is for cancer!" similar to the campain comercial in Head of State.
  • by Epistax ( 544591 ) <epistax&gmail,com> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:33AM (#7752972) Journal

    (extremely obvious)
  • Stuff to read... (Score:5, Informative)

    by BillGodfrey ( 127667 ) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:35AM (#7752980) Homepage
    I wrote this primer on building a distributed computing system [bacchae.co.uk] a while ago. Looks like it needs updating.

    Bill, shamelessly plugging.

  • So they are now looking for help in order to find those farting solar E.T.s [slashdot.org] ???
  • SETI ... Ug says SETI good
    Sun ... Ug says Sun baaad
    Oh no, Ug says make pain stop!
  • Bandwith? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neglige ( 641101 ) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:53AM (#7753037)
    In the past SETI@home had many network problems, with Berkeley throttling down the available bandwidth for SETI... Will BOINC adress this issue? There doesn't seem to be any information about this on the BOINC pages, and additional clients will probably increase the demand for bandwith further. I guess it's feasible to place the BOINC servers outside the Berkeley network infrastructure.
    • I sorta figured that a switch to JXTA would bring along greater decentralization. Any central server ought to have their load reduced, that way.
      • Hmm... I think the results need to come from and go back to the "originator" (some BOINC server), which means that a P2P model would help to distribute the load: if you can't send the results now, put it on a peer, he'll take care of it later. Still, the data is gathered at a central point - or am I mistaken here?

        Scattering the servers across the P2P network is a possibility, of course, and it would reduce the bandwith requirements for each server, so that could very well be the solution... :)
        • You do have the option of decentralizing some of the BOINC operations. The server side components are pretty small and flexible. Eventually some information on the workunits processed returns to the centralized database, but data distribution and assimilation can actually happen on seperate servers as long as the workunit and result records on the central database are eventually updated.
    • Re:Bandwith? (Score:4, Informative)

      by nicnak ( 727633 ) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:36AM (#7753230)
      During one of the last times that Berkeley throttled their bandwith the SETI@home project moved to a different hosting location. They are now situated off campus and have their own pipe to the net. The Planetary Society has a good artical [planetary.org] about the bandwith problems.
  • by joelparker ( 586428 ) <joel@school.net> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:55AM (#7753044) Homepage
    If you haven't seen JXTA,
    or looked at JXTA recently,
    it just got a *lot* better.

    Check out the main website [jxta.org]
    and this review of JXTA 2 by DeveloperWorks [ibm.com]

    Cheers, Joel

  • BOINC is great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gxv ( 577982 ) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @08:56AM (#7753048)
    Old S@H protocol was full of security flaws. Due to lack of verification of returned data it was possible to modify the workunits. And people did it, just to make them compute fast. In the fisrt 100 places of current Top 1000 list [berkeley.edu] there is at least 10 cheaters. I've heard some time ago that approx 30% of workunits results returned to Berkeley was fake.
    BOINC prevents this. S@H will now able to verify iof returned result is real or cheated.
  • The Sun (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:07AM (#7753089) Homepage
    Am I the only one who read the title and thought that SETI was somehow using the Sun to pull in weaker transmissions, or maybe using it to threaten some rather anti-social aliens? :P

    Considering that SETI = Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, the context was rather amusing...
  • by Zegnar ( 704768 ) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @09:22AM (#7753149)

    That I've had with friends - why the hell are you using your computer to look for little green men (who, even if they contact us, are near enough to come to us, and do so, will probably make us into gourmet ready-meals for their home planet, or smething) when they could be running something like the UD Cancer Project

    This gives SETI more legitimacy IMO... as a fun project attatched to one with real value. Of course, I suppose Sun probably couldn't stomach donating to a commercial venture like UD, so I won't criticize them for choosing SETI.

    • why the hell are you using your computer to look for little green men (who, even if they contact us, are near enough to come to us, and do so, will probably make us into gourmet ready-meals for their home planet, or smething)
      Because it makes a spiffy screensaver. It's pretty nifty to see every machine in the school's computer lab decked out in the SETI@Home screensaver.
    • And why are you posting to slashdot when you could be out curing AIDS? What's that? You think you can do as you please with your own time and resources? Well then, fuck you! So can I!
    • Many many many resources are devoted to cancer and other medical researches. People are eternally self centered, after all.

      Hardly any resources are devoted towards space exploration, even planet based exploration such as SETI.

      Not only is SETI dilluting its user base with these non-space-exploration projects, but some folks are apparently going to crow about it.

      A sad day for SETI indeed.
    • "That I've had with friends - why the hell are you using your computer to look for little green men...when they could be running something like the UD Cancer Project."

      I've encountered the same thing, but unfortunately for UD (United Devices), they limited themselves by only centering on the WinTel platform. For the longest, their website referred to the x86 platform as "Intel." They wouldn't say "Intel-compatible" or even mention AMD. So sure, I could've went ahead and downloaded their client and tried
  • SSDI ... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by peter303 ( 12292 )
    Same acronymn as SETI, except replace ET with slashdot.

    Still looking ...
  • the sun is no help to the search for extraterrestials

    for one, anything in it's part of the sky is blocked or drowned out by the suns electromagenetic emissions


    oh wait, nevermind ;-)
  • by M|tzi ( 87430 )
    It's a hard enough job to find intelligent life on THIS planet. How much harder is it going to be to find it elsewhere in the universe??? :)
  • by hellfire ( 86129 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [vdalived]> on Thursday December 18, 2003 @11:00AM (#7753929) Homepage
    I'm hoping with the upgrades they will start looking for sexy green women.
  • by daminotaur ( 732705 ) on Thursday December 18, 2003 @11:59AM (#7754537)
    There's an idea that since your computer isn't doing anything anyway, the seti screen saver is zero cost. Not so. My CPU runs 5 degrees Centigrade hotter when running seti@home than if a basic screensaver is running. Thus there is even more strain on the hardware. Currently, about 1100 years of CPU time per day are devoted to seti@home. Not sure what the increased power usage is, but for each watt that's roughly 10 megawatt-hours per day of energy going up in smoke (or CO2). Since the idea of finding an alien signal by these means is clearly a non-starter after so many years, it's about time more justifiable projects were found.
    • Yes, but you see, my computer is powered by a dynamo attached to the rear hub of a bicycle. The only real cost to me is the extra caffine and doghnuts I need to keep peddling.
    • My CPU runs 5 degrees Centigrade hotter when running seti@home than if a basic screensaver is running.

      Are you really complaining on Slashdot about increased wear and tear on your computer purchases? Are you really going to use your same hardware for more than 5 years? Because if not, then all you are doing is increasing your computer's efficiency by making it do work even when you yourself have nothing to give your own computer to do. You'd be better to complain about higher utility bill costs instead
  • If, for example, I dedicate some fraction of my spare cycles to drug research, am I essentially giving this information to a big pharmaceutical company, which will then patent it? Or will the data be "open-sourced" somehow?

    I won't be donating any of my spare CPU time until I can get an answer...

    • It depends on the applications you are interested in running within BOINC what their policy is and whether you choose to use them within BOINC. It isn't a "BOINC-level" global decision what is done with the data. I happen to work on climateprediction.net and we will be "BOINC'ing." Our data will be available to the public on many levels to interested parties, e.g. via summaries of the data & results for the general public in the usual literature, or directly for researchers, gov't agencies etc, proba

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard