Searching for ET

I saw a post on Go! Smell The Flowers the other day when I joined BlogCatalog that reminded me of something I haven’t posted about.

About 5 years ago in June 2002, I downloaded and installed the Seti@Home software. The Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project uses spare time on your computer to analyse the signals from the radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory searching for signs of intelligence.

In early 2005, a new version of the software was released. This version ran on the BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) platform, which was design to be modular allowing clients for other purposes to be released. I’m still searching for aliens, but I’m also taking part in the following projects:

  • ClimatePrediction – experiment to try and produce a forecast of the climate in the 21st century
  • Einstein – search for spinning neutron stars (also called pulsars) using data from the LIGO and GEO gravitational wave detectors
  • Predictor – predict protein structure from protein sequence to address critical biomedical questions of protein-related diseases
  • Rosetta – determine the 3-dimensional shapes of proteins in research that may ultimately lead to finding cures for some major human diseases


You can just do this individually or join one of the many teams that do this competitively. Being a bit of a nutter with a liking for Monty Python, I had to join The Knights Who Say Ni! team, who are without exception stark raving mad. This explains my name in the team; the Knights are searching for a Shrubbery and with the name Hedges what else could I be other than ‘I am a Shrub’.

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