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SETI@Home Transitions To BOINC

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the get-your-mind-out-of-the-stellar dept.

Space 263

SeaDour writes "The team at SETI@Home have finally released their highly-anticipated new client software based on the BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) software platform. This new platform promises transparent version upgrades, more efficient work unit distribution, and the ability to seamlessly integrate other distributed computing projects that are also using the BOINC standard. For now, SETI@Home is allowing both the Classic and BOINC clients to run, but eventually they will shut down the Classic data server and force everyone to upgrade. You can read more about the transition here."

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frosty? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512404)

or secondy??? you be the judge.

gnaa drools

I for one (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512406)

welcome our BOINC alien-finding overlords. sorry.

Re:I for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512504)

>> welcome our BOINC alien-finding overlords. sorry.

With our luck, they'll not only use a different part of the EM spectrum, they'll be non-BOINCing asexual aliens.

Re:I for one (4, Funny)

Epistax (544591) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512566)

I prefer

Scientific progress goes BOINC?

Re:I for one (1)

haluness (219661) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512600)

perfect! :)

Re:I for one (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512763)

sorry.

Liar.

Boink! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512407)

Boink Boink!

Hmm (0, Offtopic)

Ag3nt (790820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512415)

Personally I don't know much about BOINC, I will have to read up on it, but it will be interesting to see how the transition goes.

Waste (3, Interesting)

mphase (644838) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512425)

SETI seems like a bit of a waste of energy compared to Folding at Home. It's not that I don't believe in extraterrestrials or anything, I even think that SETI is a pretty worthwhile project but compared to curing some of the ailments folding works on...well yeah.

Re:Waste (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512483)

Maybe the new BOINC software will allow you to split your computing time between SETI and Folding?

Re:Waste (4, Interesting)

CatLord42 (657659) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512585)

Maybe the new BOINC software will allow you to split your computing time between SETI and Folding?

Whoever modded the parent down should rethink their decision.

Folding at Home [stanford.edu] seems to be another distributed computing project, just like SETI. I haven't RTFA-ed, but the original post says that BOINC will allow multiple distributed programs to run. At worst, this is redundant, but it is definitely on topic for this particular part of the thread!

Re:Waste (1)

CatLord42 (657659) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512604)

Silly /. reader (me)!

How did that AC -1 filter get set?

Sorry, feel free to mod me down.

Re:Waste (5, Insightful)

Brainix (748988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512486)

While I see your point, I think you are being unfair to SETI. As I understand it, SETI has made leaps not only in the search for extra-terrestrial life, but also in the area of distributed computing.

I once had a friend who was a psychology major. She asked me, "How can you study computer science when there are children out there being abused, and women out there being raped?"

We must pick our battles, and contribute to the best of our ability.

Re:Waste (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512562)

>>I once had a friend who was a psychology major. She asked me, "How can you study computer science when there are children out there being abused, and women out there being raped?"

People who think we should do anything because we can't do everything are annoying. I am supremely unqualified to produce peace in the Middle East, cure AIDS, or fix overpopulation in China. I can however spare a few computer cycles for something that interests me, and searching for aliens seems to be a better use of my time than watching flying cows.

(BTW, this isn't directed at you, but at your friend who thinks compsci is somehow less important than psych. My guess is that computer science will do more to help the world than every psychiatrist and psychologist put together, though I certainly don't begrudge them pursuing their own interests)

Yeah. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512571)

Because psychologists have prevented sooooo many crimes.

Most often, they are responsible for rapists etc. getting out of prison early or even defend them by blaming society/the victim for their crimes or some other morally relativistic nonsense.

Re:Waste (3, Insightful)

StonyUK (173886) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512647)

I once had a friend who was a psychology major. She asked me, "How can you study computer science when there are children out there being abused, and women out there being raped?"

How does she think she's helping? She's not preventing it, she's making money out of the aftermath.

Indeed...! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512672)

someone ought to rape the stupid bitch...

Re:Waste (5, Insightful)

fatmonkeyboy (257833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512779)

Well, there are a number of ways she could (theorhetically) be helping by working as a psychologist, though there is certainly no guarantee.

* If she treats children she might prevent those children from becoming abusive to their own children, ten years down the line. Or she might prevent them from becoming rapists.

* If she works in social services she might identify children who are being abused and put an earlier stop to it.

* Even if she doesn't help prevent it, she might be able to help repair the damage in the aftermath. Just because she's making money from it doesn't mean it isn't still a worthy cause.

That said, I've never been impressed with what I've seen from the field of psychology. I do think that just talking to someone who is genuinely interested in helping you work through your problems is helpful though.

So, regardless of whether or not their science has much merit, I think psychologists are doing good work.

But the whole "how can you study X when Y is occurring argument" is pretty lame. A society like ours which supports deep specializations has to have people specializing in every field. Might as well go with the one you enjoy and/or have talent for...

Re:Waste (1)

OneDeeTenTee (780300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512733)

I once had a friend who was a psychology major. She asked me, "How can you study computer science when there are children out there being abused, and women out there being raped?"

Because computer science makes our lives better and thus reduces the likelyhood of child abuse and rape. (This argument only works if she accepts the argument that poverty and/or unhappiness increases the likelyhood of that sort of depravity.)

Re:Waste (0, Flamebait)

ari_j (90255) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512754)

Your friend was pretty short-sighted. How can people honestly expect the whole world to dedicate itself solely to the problems they feel are important? Rape and child abuse are not the only problems in the world, which you'd find out in a hurry if every computer programmer (or practicer of any other profession) ran off to try to prevent rape and child abuse.

If a psych. major "friend" said that to me, she'd be sure to hear that the women and children are asking for it, or at least that I studied CS because I like programming, just like she studies child abuse and rape because she likes abusing children and being raped. But, then again, I'm in the George Carlin "rape can be funny" camp, and don't much care for anyone telling me what I should be doing with my life or how I should be thinking. :)

Re:Waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512870)

I'm in the George Carlin "rape can be funny" camp, and don't much care for anyone telling me what I should be doing with my life or how I should be thinking.

Ah. So rape is funny, but you don't like being raped?

Fucking hypocrite.

HAHAHAHAHA! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512495)

You believe in extraterrestrials!

HAHAHAHA!

Personal choice (2, Insightful)

Pi_0's don't shower (741216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512619)

It depends on what you decide is more important to your life/society -- and many people are more interested in finding/looking for extraterrestrial life.

I think personally, the sooner the better. We all have short lifetimes here on this earth, and light-travel time limits how long it will take us to contact anyone. If there are ET's within about 20-30 light years, it's reasonable to expect that we can contact them (and hear back from them) within some of our lifetimes -- which is a very exciting (though perhaps too optimistic) possibility. Imagine the benefits to society contact with an alien race could bring!

Even if it's too far to contact and hear back from in our lifetime -- there's something to be said for looking for them. Even if we just get and decode their message, there could be some wonderful information that could advance any given field by thousands of years of research...

Re:Personal choice (1)

Bob Uhl (30977) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512721)

Imagine the benefits to society contact with an alien race could bring!

You're the sort of person who would welcome the ETs in Independence Day, aren't you? I am far less optimistic; indeed I wonder if the rational reaction to the existence of another starfaring race is genocide--and thus if we let anyone know we exist, we set ourselves up for extinction.

Re:Waste (2, Funny)

bsartist (550317) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512646)

What if we find aliens that are considerably more advanced than us, and teach us of medical advances we wouldn't have found on our own for centuries?

Not that I think that will happen. It's just that we don't know what will result from it - that's the point of doing research, to find out. It doesn't make sense to restrict our areas of inquiry to those with easily imaginable results, when its the results we can't imagine that will really rock our world.

Re:Waste (2, Insightful)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512781)

Should we build big satellites and listen to space in case Aliens are broadcasting research advancements in a format that we are able to decipher, or skip the middle process and just put the effort into research?

We could use a similar setup to automate patrolling the skies for meteors that are likely to impact earth.

Such an impact would be difficult to prevent near earth, but further away we could probably divert the course of the object by .01 degrees with a missile that would move it far enough off course to avoid impacting earth.

Re:Waste (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512649)

For example, look at some of the useful tasks performed by some of the machines on the top500 list. I don't have the SETI client installed, but if there was a distributed computing effort that needed my computers to calculate things like effects of pollution or global warming then I would be willing to jump in and help out.

Re:Waste (4, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512793)

" I even think that SETI is a pretty worthwhile project but compared to curing some of the ailments folding works on...well yeah."

I help SETI because it's drastically underfunded compared to the types of things folding would cure.

Re:Waste (4, Interesting)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513030)

Thing is, it's pretty easy to get money from charities, governments, private philanthropists, and other institutions to fund medical work. How easy is it for Seti to get that money?

He said Boink! haha! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512427)

Ok, get it out of your system now kids.

fp fp fp fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512428)

FP fp fp... i love fp fp fp.... BITCHES are just jealous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Uh...try SEVENTH post. Loser. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512509)

Don't worry, I can almost remember when I was still a virgin. Almost. But you'll always be a virgin, unless being ass-fucked by the garbage man is considered real sex, in which case I'm wrong.

FP Gmail Invite (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512433)

Okay, so it's not the first post, but here's the lucky gmail invite for the first reader!

http://gmail.google.com/gmail/a-e061a4635-d6ad98 40 dc

Re:FP Gmail Invite (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512456)

Man, I was too slow! Grr.

Re:FP Gmail Invite (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512458)

Woot! Gmail invite! Winner! Thanks!

Re:FP Gmail Invite (-1, Troll)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512678)

I really don't understand why people are so hard for Gmail. It's like, "Woo Hoo! A gig of Storage! I'll save eight bucks of hard disc space, and get ads and an invasive presence to boot" Thanks, Google, but no thanks. I can set up my on frickin' email, not have it read by your bots or whatever, and fsck the ads.

OK, maybe I can understand how people like my Mom would want Gmail, but for me, and presumably anyone who can spell ISP, I just don't get it.

Breaking Compatibility (5, Insightful)

Ricwot (632038) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512442)

The real question is, will this help the project, or will it harm it when the classic is phased out, those users looking for a pretty screensaver who installed the software one day when they were bored are unlikely to upgrade, that said however, the way that it can now be used for any project means that more causes can benefit without having to write the software themselves.

Re:Breaking Compatibility (5, Insightful)

igny (716218) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512580)

There are ~5mil total registered users, and ~500k active users (at least 1 result in last 4 weeks). I guess there are >100k users who are die hard fans, running it 24/7 on all their machines. Likely those will be first to upgrade, followed by the rest of them. Possibly, many of inactive users might come back with this upgrade.

In conclusion, you might see spikes in the userbase in short term, but it won't affect long term dynamics.

WE Fear Change! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512455)

We Fear Change!

Dumb question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512466)

Dumb question:

Have they found anything yet. Anything at all that might, just might, be an alien signal?

Or is this whole thing just a giant cluster?

SETI running out of Work-Units? (4, Interesting)

SB5 (165464) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512471)

A very long time ago, I heard that SETI@Home was running low on work-units because their client was so popular that they were just burning through them... Did they restructure it? What happened. I remember when I heard that I started downloading work-units that were taken by the dishes more recently then I had been seening too...

Re:SETI running out of Work-Units? (1, Redundant)

ibjhb (173533) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512501)

It would be nice if they could distribute some of the processing power to other applications/projects such as Folding at Home to help them out. Better than wasting the cycles or having machines sit idle...

Searching for Aliens might be cool and all, but there are practical applications this could be used for...

Re:SETI running out of Work-Units? (5, Informative)

Thng (457255) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512557)

Not sure if this is before or after the news you heard, but for version 3.03, they added additional processing capability in the client so workunits would take longer to process
News posting [berkeley.edu]
Text:
Added additional science coverage. We now do a thorough search out to a chirp rate of +- 20 Hz/second. The cost of the additional coverage is that clients will take longer to process a workunit

However, as 3.03 is rather old, I wouldn't be surprised if the new and faster computers and old clients that weren't upgraded negated some of the effect.

thng

Beta Means What? (3, Interesting)

stecoop (759508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512474)

The team at SETI@Home have finally released Bonic

On Bonic web page: Status BOINC is under development. We are 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.


Bonic has been "released" for use for a long time; I thought when a release annoucment arrives then the product is no longer beta. So which is it - Released means ready for use or does it mean Please beta test now?

Bill Watterson was right... (5, Funny)

CaseyB (1105) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512484)

"Scientific progress goes BOINC?"

Re:Bill Watterson was right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512530)

BWAHAHAHAHA! Mod this up!

Imagine... (0)

cerebralsugar (203167) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512487)

A bajillion distributed clients, decoding radio waves from the stars, that contains an alien transmission of Beowulf picked up by sentient extratrestrial beings and transmitted back to say "hello humankind"!

a great joke (5, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512490)

You know, I'd love to setup a transmitter and inject a signal into the seti data collection dish - you know, a low level non-random mathematically transformed character stream that roughtly translates to "The earthlings will never find us here" or something.

If done right it could be a bigger practical joke than the War of the Worlds broadcast of 1938!

Re:a great joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512541)

i would laugh.

that would be a bigger joke then the millenium bug!

Re:a great joke (4, Informative)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512559)

Best you'd conceivably get is a detection from one dish; without actually putting a transmitter way out in space, the confirmations that would be required (things like confirming parallax of the signal, motion of the signal consistent with it being X light years away, etc.) would require access to every radiotelescope in the world.

Best you might get is "oh, neat, a candidate signal" until one or the other of the rejection mechanisms coughs and says "Bullshit."

Re:a great joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512608)

Technically, we could get either spaceship1 to send a signal, or attempt to bounce of the moon.

would be worth it just for the press coverage.

Re:a great joke (3, Interesting)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512682)

SS1 wouldn't have sidereal motion, it isn't high enough. Also, there's the fact that its only up there for a couple minutes. But basically, it wouldn't "look" like a signal from extraplanetary sources.

The Moon, well, they would say "It's coming from the moon". I suspect there are ways to tell if someone is bouncing it off the moon... like the fact that it would be an on again, off again signal in synch with the rotation of the planet.

To successfully hoax the SETI program would require a *lot* of effort and smarts.

Me predicts... (4, Insightful)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512492)

This BOINC thingy seems to be an adequate infrastructure for the next generation of... worms.

Interesting... (4, Funny)

ndavidg (680217) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512496)

Well this is interesting... probably the first time a service provider was required to upgrade software: "You better upgrade if you want us to continue using your cpu cycle service."

Re:Interesting... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512759)

Even worse -- and the reason I won't be transitioning to BOINC -- is that it apparently downloads and installs new versions of the applications without user knowledge or approval. It's my system and I insist on maintaining my delusion of being the one in control of what gets downloaded and installed when.

BOINC? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512497)

Guess that's apropos, considering how BONKERS Berkeley's ultra far-left extremist politics are.

Frink (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512513)

"As you can see...the *hoi* SETI client breaks down the ahhh data for processing *herrghh* and the ahhh results are IN! Glavin! it says GNAA are all bitches! ZING!

Ah, Seti@Home (3, Funny)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512519)

The practical implementation of a million monkeys at a million typewriters... ...finding nothing.

Seriously, what has Seti@Home found as of yet?

Re:Ah, Seti@Home (4, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512540)

It's found a lack of signs of life - at least a lack of certain types of sign. That in itself is a find.

Re:Ah, Seti@Home (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512675)

Regarding your sig:

I'll see your pithy "There is no God" sig and raise you a "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' -- Psalms 14:1". Show your cards.

Atheist or not, flamebait sigs are a sign of immaturity. Why don't you use the space to declare something positive about what you believe? It would ring better than tearing down those who disagree with you.

Unless, of course, you define yourself by your disagreement with others. Then I would advise you to forget the sig and seek professional help.

Re:Ah, Seti@Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512804)

The Bible (Score:5, Troll)

Re:Ah, Seti@Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9513023)

I'll see your pithy "There is no God" sig and raise you a "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' -- Psalms 14:1". Show your cards.

Read 'em and weep:

Matthew 5:22
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.


Why don't you use the space to declare something positive about what you believe? It would ring better than tearing down those who disagree with you.

There are people loudy proclaiming that there is a god all the time. A lot of us think "There is no god" is not negative, it's just a dissent from the mainstream. Such a statement is only "tearing down" someone who's being a bit sensitive. In my mind, tearing down those who disagree would be something like "Anyone who disagrees is a worthless pile of crap." If some such thing appeared in the sig and I missed it, well then I would agree with you. :)

Unless, of course, you define yourself by your disagreement with others.

This is a common shot to take at an atheist. I can see where it comes from, but please consider this: When you live in a society where 80 or 90% hold the "I believe" viewpoint, if you don't go along, you are by default "defined" simply as contrary. You might say that atheists should just shut up and keep it to themselves, but why should they leave the stage only to believers? If the belief of the theist is sound, it should be able to withstand a little disagreement without any emotional trauma.

The sensitivity of believers to anyone proclaiming disbelief is strange. It almost seems as if their beliefs are fragile, and can't withstand any suggestion that they might be wrong, and instead require that they be constantly reminded that they should believe. I'm sure that's not true, though.

Re:Ah, Seti@Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9513073)

Ah, yes, respond to a flamebait posting with ... a flamebait posting. Look, ask yourself this question: when did you first begin to believe in God? Who told you? Who told them? At what point in that chain of transmission do you reach an "authority" you can't trust?

Re:Ah, Seti@Home (2, Interesting)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512713)


It found that you can ask home users with more computing power than they personally use to donate their compute cycles, if they find the project interesting enough and your work is Very Embarrassingly Parallel.
Furthermore, as broadband becomes more popular, the work will not need to be quite so parallel. And as more devices have actual CPUs and go online, you could ask more of even more appliances--for example, one could reasonably run BOINC on their Tivo or Xbox.

That, as it's been said, is an important discovery in and of itself. The world is more lacking of VEP compute problems than CPU time, apparently, but maybe that can be changed; and maybe that can be changed on a problem that is important. Part of designing a VEP task is thinking about the issue differently and configuring your compute interactions differently; now that SETI has demonstrated the possibility, and has been expanded by BOINC, perhaps it will attract more interest and spur adoption of VEP worksets.

BONIC? (2, Funny)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512527)

Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing

Am I to take that this project will also be dying?

so close, and yet so far (1)

jbellis (142590) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512533)

man, when you think that with just a little more effort they could have come up with an acronym for BIONIC... :(

Power Usage? While running Dist comp projects (1)

atarione (601740) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512548)

While certainly I'm all for finding aliens (especially if they are female and hot?).

but when these distributed computing apps run they tend to max out your processor thus using pretty much as much power as possible at all times ... and generating as much heat as possible as well (prescott owners might want to note this in particular as the prescott is a nuclear reactor of a chip to start with)

next will need a distributed computing project to find more power to run the distributed computing projects!!

Tax break? (4, Funny)

SkyWalk423 (661752) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512555)

If I sign up for SETI@home, are my spare CPU cycles tax deductibe as a charitable contribution?

Re:Tax break? (2, Funny)

ndavidg (680217) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512613)

Good question. But here's an even bigger question: If you could put it on your taxes, how would you calculate the amount? SETI/Idle Time || SETI/Used Time || SETI/Time Spent looking at Pr0n ?

Anyone want to help me release (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512590)

the 3D Games module for BOINC. Ya know we're gonna need it when Duke Nukem Forever comes out.

Calvin was right (0, Redundant)

bsartist (550317) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512599)

Scientific progress *does* go boinc!

Criminal Intent (3, Funny)

EssTiDee (784920) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512603)

From article: "Will the format of input and output files change? Yes. The new format is XML-like (though not legal XML). " Sorry SETI, the RIAA has long since scared me away from having anything illegal on my PC. :-P

Will new client screen out 'cheaters'? (5, Interesting)

Siergen (607001) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512638)

I recall reading that some SETI contributors had found ways to artificially raise their rankings for number of packets processed (forget how they did it). This angered some contributors whose high rankings were based on real results, and who were now being knocked from the top spots by the 'cheaters'.

Does the new client include methods to block the methods used to spoof the current SETI@Home client?

Re:Will new client screen out 'cheaters'? (3, Funny)

SkyWalk423 (661752) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512745)

You'll be happy to know that the new SETI@Home client is PunkBuster-enabled. The days of SETI@Home aimbots are finally over!

Score one for the good guys!

Source Available (4, Interesting)

eeg3 (785382) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512673)

Interestingly enough, the new client has the option to compile it yourself. The old client didn't have this option, or atleast it was very difficult to find, _if_ it was available. Now maybe it can be ported to archs that were previously unsupported.

I don't do pushed software upgrades (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512702)

"BOINC transparently and securely downloads new application versions. This lets us upgrade and extend SETI@home without requiring you to download and install new software. "

Well, if I can't turn this feature off, they've lost my cycles. I don't even allow my OS vendor to perform automatic downloads of "new versions" of programs.

For those with the tinfoil hats, the Patriot Act could be used to force Berzerkeley to download random "interesting" ware for the Feds, and keep quiet about it under penalty of law, under the umbrella of looking for terrorist activity. This ain't Java playing in a secure sandbox either.

Re:I don't do pushed software upgrades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512720)

um, call me crazy, but if you can compile it yourself, wouldn't the paranoid crazies be able to skim the code and look for this tin-foil-conspiracy software? its open-source... i'd love to get my hands on some of the code they supposedly can force at me...

Re:I don't do pushed software upgrades (1)

alehmann (50545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512803)

Force BERKELEY to do that?! You're out of your mind.

Re:I don't do pushed software upgrades (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9512962)

You shouldn't have had it installed anyway then. There was a vulnerability a while ago in classic that, if someone gained control of the data servers, could have allowed them to execute arbitrary code.

File format is not XML: why not? (4, Interesting)

LightStruk (228264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512707)

Will the format of input and output files change?

Yes. The new format is XML-like (though not legal XML).
Anybody familiar with the rationale behind this decision? The sample file [berkeley.edu] is indeed very close to legal XML. If it is so close, why not go the last mile and make it legal?
Well-formed XML facilitates communication and interoperability, because standard [sourceforge.net] XML [microsoft.com] parsers can grok it, making it easier to write new implementations that understand the same XML format.

OT: Re:File format is not XML: why not? (1)

sploxx (622853) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512923)

What I don't understand are the advantages here.

Sure, XML is nice to represent hierarchical structures ("filesystem in a file" - like the old IFF for Amiga). A good idea for the web, for office documents etc.

But XML does not provide information about how to interpret a document (only how to parse/validate it formally or render it in certain, rather special circumstances). The logic to work with and interpret the data still has to be implemented somewhere... interoperability goes only so far as to the representation of the document's structure.

XML is text (Which is IMHO very sad - I'm longing for a binary XML, that would be cool :) and therefore:
1. binary data has to be encoded/decoded, at least extracted, what really is missing is fast mmap()ed access to the data.
2. text is inefficiently transmitted/stored, unless you compress it, then you have CPU inefficiency.

So what really is the advantage that let the researchers choose this over a binary format like HDF? I'm curious, not trolling.

Re:OT: Re:File format is not XML: why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9513104)

Once you go with a binary format, you've tied yourself into that format and only that format; a text format, on the other hand, allows you to look at the text and figure out how to convert it via script to another format with no other information. And that's a second point: well-designed XML CAN BE understood without any external interpretive metadata. If you pick sufficiently descriptive header elements and element names, an XML file can be self-describing.

Arg! All my bragging rights, gone! (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512736)

but eventually they will shut down the Classic data server and force everyone to upgrade.

Arg! All my bragging rights, gone!

Unfortunately, you can only transition your account if you have access to the email account you use for seti@home.

Seti@home never let me change my email address with them, so I can't transition my current account to the new services.

I signed up for seti@home 5 years ago, lost access to the account only recently. Yarg! It's all gone!

The worry (0, Redundant)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512758)

I always worried WHAT IF seti isn't calculating what we think it is. What if it's some conspiracy project to calculate some other type of numbers not relating to extraterestrial but for big brother or microsoft etc.

Who Knew? (0, Redundant)

jbrandon (603700) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512761)

Scientific progress goes BOINC?

Not quite ready for the unwashed masses? (3, Interesting)

stefanb (21140) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512767)

I had heard about the eventual switch-over some months ago, but never found the time to play around with the beta, so I took the opportunity now to install the client and check it out.

On Mac OS X, all went well, and my PowerBook is munching on it's first unit, fans spinning. However, when I tried to start the client on a Sun box at work, it failed with "ld.so.1: ./boinc_3.18_sparc-sun-solaris2.7: fatal: libstdc++.so.3: open failed: No such file or directory." A quick Google confirmed my suspicions: the client is linked against the GCC stdlib, which is not a standard part of Solaris. Now, that's easy enough to fix if you've worked with Solaris before: just go to sunfreeware.com, and find a suitable binary package to put on.

However, someone not knowing about Solaris, GCC, and sunfreeware.com might be a bit stumped. And the boinc/setiboinc boards reveal that quite a number of beta testers are confused about this, not only on Solaris but also on Linux. It's not completely obvious which GCC/libgcc packages contains libstc++.so.3 (as opposed to .2.x or .4.x).

The real kicker is that I couldn't find any hint of this problem or a solution on the site. I probably looked in all the wrong places in the last half hour... And I couldn't find a feedback form or email address either. This definitly needs to be improved if they want people to move over to boinc.

Re:Not quite ready for the unwashed masses? (2, Funny)

srwalter (39999) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512868)

However, someone not knowing about Solaris, GCC, and sunfreeware.com might be a bit stumped. And the boinc/setiboinc boards reveal that quite a number of beta testers are confused about this, not only on Solaris but also on Linux. It's not completely obvious which GCC/libgcc packages contains libstc++.so.3 (as opposed to .2.x or .4.x).

How many people use Solaris that aren't familiar with it? It's not like Grandma is gonna come with a shiny new Solaris CD and install it.

Can you disable automatic updates? (5, Interesting)

Hibernator (307430) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512773)

In the transition FAQ [berkeley.edu] it says
BOINC transparently and securely downloads new application versions. This lets us upgrade and extend SETI@home without requiring you to download and install new software.
which makes me wonder if users can disable that. I don't want anybody installing software on my computer without my approval, thank you.

The FAQ didn't answer that question--does anyone know?

Re:Can you disable automatic updates? (1)

cephyn (461066) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513033)

well its not installing any NEW software, its simply upgrading the OLD software you've already installed - seti@home. Since they need all the clients to be at a certain level of upgrade to be compatible with servers etc etc etc in order to be an efficient distributed computing machine, its a rather important feature.

since they're leasing, in a sense, your cpu cycles to run their program, its really their job to keep their program up to date. the new feature does that -- automatically.

Napster? (1)

Guysdrinkingbeer (207045) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512788)

Is it just me or does this remind anyone of the good ol days of Napster? Sure looks like it to me.

comparative advantage in distributed computing (2, Informative)

k2enemy (555744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512811)

this is the first i've seen BOINC. it looks like a good platform to implement concepts of comparative advantage in distributed computing projects [jahana.com] . the idea is to apply some of the concepts that drive international trade to distributed computing.

how now brown cow (0, Offtopic)

gr8gatzby (624204) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512887)

going on 6 years, 7060 units, and 71,583 devoted hours....

So long, SETI@Home.. (3, Insightful)

Hibernator (307430) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512888)

This may very likely be the beginning of the end for SETI@Home. One of the attractions of SETI@Home for many people is the excitement of tracknig the counter of the number of work units completed. In contrast, the new BOINC-based system has a ridiculously complex [berkeley.edu] and unintuitive "credit" system that users are very unlikely to find compelling.

I guess this just shows that every project, even a non-commercial one, eventually needs to have someone with some marketing sense if it wants to continue to thrive.

Be careful what you search for (4, Funny)

xyote (598794) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512903)

I have a suspicion that any advanced galatic civilization, realizing the nature of expansionistic species, broadcasts instructions on how to blow yourself up, knowing full well that any sufficiently aggressive species will not be able to resist following the instructions. The tiny note at the end "Do not attempt this on your home planet" just indicates a puckish sense of humor.

Well then (1)

ActiveSX (301342) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512924)

It seems as if the source is finally available, but I haven't given the license a good enough look for DFSG compliance. Maybe there will finally be a S@H client that's in Debian's main?

BOINC (5, Informative)

Sunspire (784352) | more than 10 years ago | (#9512942)

Boinc is more than just an updated Seti@Home, it's a generic delivery platform for distributed projects. That means you, yes you, can develope a BOINC app [berkeley.edu] . Just gather some people to run it for you and compute away without needing any approval from the guys at Berkeley. Basically the participants enter a project URL into the BOINC application, the program then downloads your code and the crunching begins. BOINC handles all the network, workunit, results, distribution, security, versioning etc. issues for you.

Participants can even choose to split their resources among several projects, say, Seti@Home and Folding@Home. Another thing that will also be used in the new Seti@Home is that you can have clients participating in the same project working on completely different computation sets. For example, clients that have proven themselves to have a fast workunit turnaround time and a long history of participating and that have a gigabyte or more of RAM can be given special tasks that would normally be impossible because of the high number of griefers on the net.

Pains with BOINC (1)

vertaxis (250038) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513029)

BOINC may be the new client, but it's already a thorn in my side.

The Seti guys used old data to create the new BOINC accounts. That includes my old e-mail address that doesn't work any more. So, now I can't activate my accounnt that's waiting for me in BOINC.

Of course, I could always post for help on their message board. But, I need an activated and working account in order to be authorized to post a message for help. Someone needs to take some lessons in being "user friendly". I've dontate time and hardware for 4 years to the project, and can't find any easy way to get some help.

Re:Pains with BOINC (1)

ArtisteTerroriste (637973) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513111)

Gee, I'm not the only person stuck in this loophole! You would have to assume that any system changeover is gonna have lots of problems. JUST HATE when it happens to me, personally! Perhaps my measly 3000+ units are enough...

Porno distributed computing (0, Offtopic)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513045)

Boink!

One step closer (1)

theRG (770574) | more than 10 years ago | (#9513116)

Ah! One step closer to finding those green-blooded Vulcans [wikipedia.org] !
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