Users of the popular
distributed client have been reporting connection problems over the past few days. These problems come from the fiber connection between the University of California Berkeley Campus and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory being cut by vandals who were stealing copper from other wires nearby.
The Space Sciences Lab, where SETI@Home lives, is a part of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and the whole enchilada is down. The cable was laid yesterday, but it still needs to be spliced back into the system. The lab reports that the repairs are almost finished and SETI@Home services will be restored today.
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.
If you have a completed unit waiting to be sent, do not despair. The unit will be sent as soon as the servers are back up.