Developer Bob Delaney’s SETI control has been updated to version 1.2. It now has its own icon of a galaxy. While in the Dock of Mac OS X, the icon shows the percentage of progress on the current work unit.
Developed with REALbasic, the software lets you control a Darwin (Unix) version of SETI@home in Mac OS X. This application, setiathome, runs faster than the Mac OS X screensaver version, Delaney said. The user can stay with the described full path name of setiathome. Or, via the Preferences item in the application menu of Mac OS X, the entry of the user’s full path name for the SETI application can be used.
The download includes a document “SETI control desc.rtf” that describes how to download and install the Darwin version of setiathome.
The SETI@Home client downloads a portion of the data collected by the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project’s radio telescopes — most notably the gigantic Arecibo telescope. The client screensaver then analyzes a tiny portion of the data and searches for evidence of a signal.
By distributing the search workload to thousands of computers, SETI@Home has allowed the project to, in effect, log thousands (or more) of years of supercomputer time. Macs have contributed a considerable portion of this work time because the RISC core of the PowerPC processor is extremely efficient for this type of work.