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SETI@home & RC5 66

abh writes "The SETI@home project is now sending new (fresh) work units, after having spent a few weeks in a rut sending the same 2 days worth of observations repeatedly. Read the announcement " As well, we were sent word from a reader that we've lost the #1 position at RC5. Head over and sign up!
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SETI@home & RC5

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  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by dangerangel:

    My question for the nerds out there isn't about number crunching... is SETI going to really tell us if we find something? If my computer finds a signal among a trillion radio waves I want it to light up like a pinball machine and spit quarters out of the floppy drive.
  • Here's a memo I sent to SETI. I can't get the Linux client to run. Anyone have an idea?
    Here's your account info:
    Email address: [xxx]
    OK to show email address? no
    Name: grinder
    OK to show name? yes
    Country: France
    Postal code: 75003
    Computer location: Work

    Everything correct? (y/n) y
    gethostbyname: Success
    Server host unknown

    This is the version information:

    Platform: i386-pc-linux-gnulibc1-static
    Version: 1.2

    I have tried all three Linux ports with no luck.

    i386-pc-linux-gnu-gnulibc2.1 (dumps core)
    i386-pc-linux-gnulibc1 (gethostbyname fails)
    i386-pc-linux-gnulibc1-static (see above output)

    Curiously enough, nslookup knows about

    Non-authoritative answer:
    Name: milkyway.SSL.Berkeley.EDU

    I am lost. Please give me a clue.


  • Here ya go:
  • I saw a discussion a few weeks back of an open distributed client, that researchers needing some computing power could just send out plugin for it, and anybody who wanted to contribute could just plug it in and go.

    Sounds like a very cool idea - SETI@Home has already used over 11,000 years of CPU time that would have otherwise gone to waste. Imagine what could happen if any serious researcher who needed more power could plug into that?
  • There's the new Retire-to feature recently implemented. I think you need to email one of the people to get blocks from an old email address retired to a current email. All the gory details are somewhere in the distributed net pages. Have a look in the plans page they have.
  • just bookmark your personal stats page. it'll take you there every time. I use it for my home page now.

  • The video hardware in your computer is highly optimized for doing video things. Stuff like matrix transforms and rasterisation can be made very fast in silicon, but bog down a lot in software. So, SGI has implemented chips for this specific purpose. Typically, the way these very fast bits are accessed is through the OpenGL library, which provides a convenient way for 3d programmers to, well, program 3d apps.

    Unfortunately, because the hardware is so highly optimized for making pretty pictures, it is pretty much useless for doing other things, like cracking encryption.

    Theoretically, it is possible. Most 3d hardware needs to have things like add, multiply, etc in order to do the other stuff. But depending on the implementation of the hardware, it could be very difficult to access these parts, and even the access itself would probably be enough to slow things down quite a bit. It's akin to asking your sound card to act like a modem. While this is possible (see soundmodem drivers for linux kernel) it's not necessarily what the hardware is good at. (soundmodem driver is limited to 9600 baud max, using X.25 packet protocol, half duplex.)

    It would require a massive code effort to warp the rc5 client around to use the OpenGL library for things the OpenGL library was never meant to do, and it probably wouldn't be much of a win anyway due to the odd manipulations you would have to go through to make a task-specific processor do things that its not specific to doing.

  • is the actual announcement, if you follow the link to SETI@Home that for some reason Hemos posted as the actual link to the announcement you can then click the "Technical News Reports" link that is right there on the first part of the page just a few lines below the line you read. It's not that hard to find. :) They posted on that page on June 4th when they first discovered they were sending the same 115 units (an OS bug, they claim) and fixed it so that they were all of the units they had at that time, 31415 total. Yesterday they posted an announcement stating that the work unit pipeline is fully operational, so we should see even more units being sent.
  • The link should be which takes you to the announcements. The link Hemos posted is to the main page of the SETI@Home site which just carries a 1 line explanation.

    If you read the actual announcements, you'll see it was only one day when the same 2 days worth of work units (actually not even two complete days, just 115 work units from 2 different days) were being sent, then the project moved to about 30k units, which were all that were avaible at the time. Now several months worth of data is avaible. They go into detail as to problems they have had and their solutions on this page, it's rather interesting...

  • A. One of those people that store up a huge number of blocks for a month or so, then send them all in, and bask in the glory of seeing themselves as #1 in the daily rankings.

    This seems the most likely by far. He just had better luck than I did the day a couple months back when I checked in a bit over 100K blocks, but:
    a) the last 8K missed the stat run so I only showed 92K (Doh!), and
    b) some other guy in Japan had to pick the same day to check in his 160K, so I was #2 (Arrghh!)

    Is there anything wrong with that? It's harmless and it makes this more competitive and hence more fun and leads to higher key rates. Sure, it's at least a little bit silly, maybe even immature, but anyone who says that the resultant "spiking" of the stat distribution does some kind of real harm is just showing that he takes this even more seriously than I, when I'm already acknowledging that I'm taking it way too seriously and need a life. The only real harm I can think of is the possibility that hoarding the blocks could cause duplicate work, but that is so remote as to be insignificant.

    As for SlashDot losing the #1 spot, AnandTech checked in half a million blocks yesterday, but they've only done 38 million total, to our 140 million in the same 600 days, so unless they've got a new key-cracking supercomputer or otherwise massively increased their horsepower, it must also have been a matter of saving them up. I think it's kinda cool that they managed to do it, even though it knocked us down a rung, which, of course, means war. Like I said, competition is fun.

    Hey, wait, it looks like they were also #2 the previous day. Maybe they have got the horsepower to keep this up. Do something! Let's see, how many more clients can I install here at work?

    David Gould
  • The stats database updates daily from ~0:00-4:00 GMT. Until some blocks that you've checked make it to the stats server for an update, you won't see your email. To be safe, do a flush at about 23:00 GMT to make sure your blocks get included in that days stats run.

    dB! Human Interface
  • Yep.

    Change all of your clients to use the new email address, and submit a block or two. On the main stats page, click on "Edit Your Information". Enter your email address and your password (If you don't have a password, instrictions for retrieving it are found elsewhere in this thread). Go to the bottom of the page and retire your address.
  • Where is this announcement? All I see is one line mentioning that new works is being done continuously. Some announcement.
  • According to the technews, they generate 15.000 blocks a day from the tapedrives.

    According to the stats, it takes each of the 600.000 users about 1 1/2 CPU-days to process a block.

    So they generate 15.000, and consume about 400.000 units per day. Go figure.

    My computers stay with PrimeNet until they are overbooked by less than a factor of 3. (but THEN I'll be back!) At least there are enough prime numbers to go around.
  • lol! me too
  • Yes, there is a existing project to use distributed computing for real work and allow researchers and others to plug in.

    Cosm []

  • That too is covered in a FAQ. To be exact, it's covered in the StatsFAQ []

    Is it really that hard to just go to the main [http] page, and type "change email" in the search box on the bottom-left? First result that popped up. Took me about 10 seconds to find it.

    Really... READ those FAQ's please people. USE the search engines. It makes life so much easier. Cheers.
    'We have no choice in what we are. Yet what are we,
    but the sum of our choices.' --Rob Grant
  • Lesson #1 in computing: When all else fails, RTFM, or in this case, the FAQ, which, if you bothered to look, is linked from every single stats page right at the top, and contains full instructions for how to join a team. As for the username, you answered your own question. If the only thing it asked for was an e-mail address, then it's a fairly safe guess that your e-mail address is your username, and you have to go fill in a password somewhere (that is answered by the FAQ) Stats FAQ []
  • I sent you the password... (I sent it to
    Now check the slashdot stats and choose to sign in.

    According to the stats your avg. rate is 200kk/s and not 800kk/s.
    (or is it because you ran it only part of the time)

  • That's why Cosm [] will use signatures... you either sign yourself every code you trust (and you'll have the source available for that checkup) or you allow code signed by other persons you trust. You can then be sure your clients will only run projects you want. Come take a look at Cosm, stop by the channel #Cosm on EFnet or help us code it.. :)


  • Unless you count the daily stats, which don't really count. Overall, Slashdot is still number two [] and has a while before it catches up.


  • and just how do I sign up for this any way?
    I am running on my machince at work. and I avg about 800 keys per sec and always running it.
    I have gone to the stats site, gone though it, click on "I want to join this team" and got a usernamer and PW box, I have tried several things in it, nothing seems to work
    and when I set up my cleint I don't recall getting a username and password, all it wanted was a email address.
    so if u want me on ur team, tell me how to join up.
  • cough cough, I did read the bleeping manual, aka FAQ
    it said to get a password . but it doesn't tell u how, when I click on "edit participant info" I still get a login box, and I try, and same error.
  • even though due to poor documentation here and at the FAQ. I managaed it.
    first make sure you have at least run the client at least once, and useing the email u setup in ur client. goto stats page []
    goto view stats. and in the participant search box, insert the same email u used in ur client, go though that, and at the bottom click on mail me my password...
    then check ur mail. get ur password, go back to the site, and now in ur username use ur email and for the password use the password that was in the email sent to u

    BTW I find this to be an extremely ODD login process. does anyone else think so?
  • while I actually figured this process out on me own.. (see "how to sign up...")
    I would like thank you all for the effort u wasted in tellins me and everyone else that is possible wondering just how to sign up to this thing
    and yes my stats say 200 Keys /sec
    but that will change to 800, because right now I am avg. 900 keys / sec and over night, I avg more than 1000.
    and since I am always connected to the net, I always have this thing runnings. so its cool.
  • my best guess would to change ur email in the client software u are using. I don't know which client u are using so...
    but I am running the windows GUI version and u can edit configuration by clicking on file > enter configuration

    and change ur email there. and that will probably reflect on that stats, and I do not know if u will be associated with ur old stats and any teams u might be on. if not, try the FAQ, that might have some useless info
  • Wow, I love RC5 trash talk. I think it may be time for me [] to join a team. Slashdot sounds better and better, especially after these threats from anandtech... :)

  • CComp> Too many people look at a thing and say,
    CComp> 'This should be used for X instead of Y,
    CComp> and right now! Change it! Change it!!
    CComp> Nownownow!!' Mebbe the intermediate steps
    CComp> are NECESSARY to get to where they want it,
    CComp> but no one cares aboutthat. Gotta be
    CComp> instantaneous or nothing. Call it the
    CComp> McDonald's Syndrome.

    Their FAQ makes little mention of using this factorization software in the larger context of generalized scientific and mathematical research. The closest they come is stating a goal of "feasibility of cooperative networked multiprocessing," with no mention of client security issues, or an API set for future developers, or how timesharing would work. That's what my question was about -- indeed, a cursory search of's pages revel no developments along these lines. Or have you seen some place where they address these questions? Call it my McDonald's curiosity.
  • Good points. However, there are a *lot* of research problems (especially ones in, say, combinatorics, or modeling) that can be solved with brute-force parallelism. Back in school the computer science LAN was almost perpetually bogged down by a math teacher's parallelized research (combinatorics, IIRC), running as background processes.

    Assuming that the researcher's computational problem can be cut into fine-grained enough chunks (the way SETI's work and prime number factorization can), a sufficiently large generalized distributed computational system would be a god-send.
  • Could this stuff be put to a *really* practical use? Surely some math professors out there have some linear algebra number crunching to do, or some physicist has weather modelling simulations to make, or the like. Not that generating primes and scanning gads of radio waves for intelligent signs isn't nice and all, but it seems to me that gargantuan amounts of parallelized computation time could really help out researchers on tight budgets.

    Is there an easy process for researchers to utilize this stuff? If not, it might be a Good Thing to set up.

    (It'd have to be secure, I suppose, and in a best-case scenario could involve timesharing without administrative hassle...)
  • Some guy from Anand Tech must have been storing up blocks: did 120,403 blocks yesterday, at an average of 374,079 KKeys/sec.

    He jumped 25988 places in the indivdual rankings from yesterday to today.

    Why do people get off doing this?
  • His average keyrate for the past 170 days is 6338 KKeys/sec.

    That's not nearly consistant with his huge 'spurt' of blocks yesterday.

    This is:

    A. One of those people that store up a huge number of blocks for a month or so, then send them all in, and bask in the glory of seeing themselves as #1 in the daily rankings.

    B. A stats glich, that only affects this one guy.

    C. A hack.

    Which do you think is correct?

    While I'm at it...

    Anandtech is averaging 199,219 KKeys/sec. is averageing 731,000 KKeys/sec.

    Heh. Lots of luck catching up at those rates. You're only 102,868,204 blocks behind.
  • rrr, sorry to ask this question here, but it seems like you guys might know...

    I changed my email address, but I've been running the client for months, and I've cracked thousands of blocks... is there anyway to change my email address (if I win :P) so that I still get all the money? (of couse I have a better chance of winning the lottery a billion times over... but still)
    Chad Okere
  • There would be some issues to sort out before the idea of a generic distributed client could fly.

    One is the issue of trusting the source of the client. We're all pretty sure that the 11000 CPU-years of time contributed to SETI@home has been to process radio telescope data (even if it's repeated), not cracking someone's password file, but with the potential for many people to put out distributed clients, the issue of trust becomes more relevant.

    Another issue is whether the task has some commercial viability. I would be a lot less inclined to run a client on my PC, whether at home or at work, if it was furthering research which could ultimately be competitive with my employer, resulting in my being out of a job. As long as the tasks are purely in the public interest and/or are pure research and mathematics, that's not an issue, but if, for example, Microsoft put out a client that would do super optimization on work units of Windows 2000 code, would anybody be happy with running that on their Linux box?

  • Once you view your stats, click on your email address, it will bring up a new page. Then at the bottom of the page, it say something to the effect of "oops, I forgot my password, please email it to:***". Try that. Its not hard
  • I've got 3 machines running the seti client. All 3 were sent, and are currently working on, the _same_ work unit, recorded on Feb. 21, at 4:44:20. Coincidence? The new unit retrieval took place, for all 3, over a period of more than 5 hours. Well, that's more than coincidence, in my book.
  • They're all the same frequency, too. Don't you think I checked?
  • by Shafik ( 29058 )
    Yeah but Slashdot will topple Team EvangeList from overall 1st place at this rate in about a year (if the contest lasts that long). AnandTech, even if they double their rate it would take them 3 years to catch up.
  • my 28,000+ blocks? Kinda sad that my one computer puts me at about 76th in the team rankings. For anyone that cares, it is a PII 400.

  • I didn't look at the fact the team listings were for one day only. Ah well.

  • Gone to hackers, every one.
  • This is why is doing the RC5 thing. You think that whole effort is funded on the $10000 prize and that's the sole reason they're doing it? Nope, the point is to debug and test a distributed-work client that will let scientists and researchers do exactly what you want them to be able to do. And if it works like it's supposed to, the folks are gonna be able to retire early.

    Too many people look at a thing and say, 'This should be used for X instead of Y, and right now! Change it! Change it!! Nownownow!!' Mebbe the intermediate steps are NECESSARY to get to where they want it, but no one cares about that. Gotta be instantaneous or nothing. Call it the McDonald's Syndrome.

    It isn't going to happen overnight, but at least by supporting the RC5 project, it will happen soon.
  • I was going to ask the same thing. What username and password do we use to sign up*?

  • [Can't we put this to practical use?]

    One problem with putting this sort of system to practical use is that for most real-world problems parallel scaling only works up to a point; after that your parallel efficiency tends to drop through the floor. It is even possible for a problem to run slower in parallel than it does in serial. As a result, distributed computing efforts tend to gravitate toward the so-called "embarrassingly parallel" problems.

    There is also another problem that "researchers on tight budgets" face in using all these spare cycles, which is that often your carefully crafted serial code has to be completely rewritten to get it to work in parallel. This is a lot of work (particularly if your code is some crufty old fortran monstrosity), and even if things go smoothly you have to spend a lot of time testing the new version of the code. Unless you're really hurting for resources it's often not worth the effort. You would probably be better off spending the time and effort writing a proposal for time at one of the national supercomputing centers.


  • Each time unit is also divided into a number of slices of different frequencies. Read the FAQ.
  • Are you referring to SETI@HOME? Because on their website to search for a group, people are typing "slashdot" instead of "team slashdot". So everybody, make sure you all join "TEAM SLASHDOT" not "SLASHDOT"
  • by empty ( 53267 )
    Why are there 2 slashdot teams? Both teams should be combined for best effect!

    There can be only one.
  • There is a slightly longer announcement in the techical news section:
    The work unit pipeline is now fully operational again. Users will be seeing data recorded on a variety of dates over the last few months.
  • This exact situation is covered in the FAQ...

    I'm losing my old email! Will all my stats be lost? []


  • Out of overclocked celerons! No Shit! It's called Warpcore.
    Here's the link:
  • You need to go to your stats page and at the very very very bottom it has a link with "Email me my password." That's how you get your password. Then use that email and password to log in and change your team affiliation

BLISS is ignorance.