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Shai Hulud
 
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2006-10-16 16:45:30

In 2002/2003 I (Steffen from Germany) joined the SETI@home-community because I DO believe that there is something out there. I still believe now, but the SETI@home we have now doesnt give me the feeling anymore that I'm actually looking for someone/something in outer space.

When it started, it gave me tons of scientific infos, explanations on pulses and triplets, a very informative website... All in all, it simply gave me the feeling, I'm taking part in something special, important, something that might change everything we know...

And whats left today? Plenty of information on how much credits everybody accumulated. I dont give a damn about credits, aliens neither. Instead, tell me something about the progress... In the last 2 years, there have been only 3 science newsletters, the years before 2004, its been almost one per month... When taking a look at the SETI@home website, its all about BOINC, BOINC, BOINC... Of course, SETI@home decided to use BOINC for the project. But it looks more like SETI@home has been used by BOINC... (Oh, I loved the old website...)

Whats wrong, is the project short of money? Short of people? Short of Motivation?

Well, I'm still taking part in the project, maybe its because I believe that the project will regain some of the important things that made SETI@home so special...
Saenger
 
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2006-10-16 18:27:43

Whats wrong, is the project short of money? Short of people? Short of Motivation?

First of all the first one, they are massively short of money. And coming from that of course short of staff as well. If they were not high on motivation still, the project would long since have faded away into oblivion, remembered as one of those famous projects of the past, that has once pioneered in the DC-world, but, alas, is plain bancrupt now.

There is a petition for a renewal of the seti spirit in the following links:

Auf deutsch

In english

Feel free to sign (both have the same list, no need to do it twice).

Und Fröhliches Vollgascrunchen
Grüße vom Sänger
Honza
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2006-10-16 19:53:56

The proposal/petitional pretty much summarize what I miss - science disappread in favour of damn credit.
Shai Hulud
 
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2006-10-17 11:09:54

Yeah, I signed the list a week ago... I didnt really expect the project to be short of money - are there no financial supporters/companys...? Do they have a paypal account or something? I'm not rich, but - I guess - every Dollar/Euro/Pound might help...
Saenger
 
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2006-10-17 11:40:09

Yeah, I signed the list a week ago... I didnt really expect the project to be short of money - are there no financial supporters/companys...? Do they have a paypal account or something? I'm not rich, but - I guess - every Dollar/Euro/Pound might help...

http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/donate.php

http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/donation_history.php
PovAddict
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2006-10-17 13:41:16

I didnt really expect the project to be short of money - are there no financial supporters/companys...?

If I remember correctly, it used to get money from USA gov. but not anymore. Stopped funding a few years ago.
Cori
 
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2006-10-18 19:41:13

But they are getting huge amounts of donations. Every other project would be happy to have that lots of money. So I'm a bit astonished they are out of money now.

I found an overview about the donations made to SETI: http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/donation_history.php
Greetings from Cori
Lee Carre
 
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2006-10-18 22:57:29
last modified: 2006-10-18 23:00:45

But they are getting huge amounts of donations. Every other project would be happy to have that lots of money. So I'm a bit astonished they are out of money now.

well it cost about $500,000/year to run

but in general, i did read somewhere something that matt wrote about developing the site
at the moment i assume they're struggling to just keep it all running, it's a pretty complex server farm!
as for the site, matt talked about having a constantly updated (using PHP) site, with up-to-the-minute results listed and plotted
so the boinc platform seems pretty good to be in that respect
but as always, these things take time, they've pretty much had to start from scratch again to make the back-end manageable, lets give them some time to make the site pretty
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Honza
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2006-10-19 07:35:15

well it cost about $500,000/year to run

Yeah...and gives too little results per that sum (:-
(or are there any results at all?)

A huge amount of money and most project will find themself happy running with a fraction of it for years.

SETI was running in a very ineffecient way for years and throwing participant's money out of the window.
Outdated application and it's speed was mostly resolved by developing Enhanced and implementing optimalizations. Good one.

Still, the noise that is analysed should have been compressed before sending to participant to save internet traffic of both project and users.
Just look at the internet connection of SETI and imagine that traffic should be 1/3 lower by introduction of simple ZIP compression.
CPDN does from the very beginning so it can't be hard to implement for the most simple project: one application file, one input file per results which generates single output file; no problem with naming convention.

It is everyone free choice which project to run. A project that gets a lot of money from participants should use them in an effecient way. I think compression is one of the way to do so...
Lee Carre
 
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2006-10-23 00:47:02

well it cost about $500,000/year to run

Yeah...and gives too little results per that sum (:-

fair points
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Ringold
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2006-10-24 07:28:43

well it cost about $500,000/year to run

Yeah...and gives too little results per that sum (:-

fair points


Fair also to say that the 'masses' would disagree, based upon volume of credit being generated. BOINC is such an unfriendly thing to get set up and running effectively that people would have to be a little dense not to notice the other projects. With nothing stopping them, if a lot of people didnt see a use or get some enjoyment out of donating CPU time to Seti@Home then other projects instead would be ballooning instead of bordering on insignificant.

As for costs, labor isn't cheap! And do they develop BOINC as well; that could be a cost. Arecibo couldn't be cheap to work with, either, given that the team is in California and the dish is literally on the other side of the continent.

I'd cut 'em some slack. The masses are in no way locked in to SETI, so the turnout there is probably largely by free will. If they survive financially is a capitalist issue; if they continue to be weak and cant attract the funds, they'll die, and hopefully BOINC as a whole doesn't suffer much.

Given all that, I don't crunch for SETI myself, or any other similar project, 'cause I don't like wondering how many people are cheating me out of points. But thats a different issue altogether.
Honza
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2006-10-24 13:25:11

Ringold, you have risen some important points. But...
It hard to compare success in term of credit generated since:
1. credit is still not very comparable among projects (you can get +50% on some projects than others with same HW) or at least haven't been in past (we have seen SETI giving x5 extra credit which made a lot of bad blood among SETI and BOINCers in general).
2. SETI is an old-timers project comparing to Eintein and Rosetta for example. It's user base was enourmous (I would call that a succcess) and some users were lost during classic -> BOINC transition as you noted. (CPDN has also classic Windows client, but user base was small during the time as HW demands were quite high, user were impatient while waiting to complete a climate model and the transition to BOINC took place quite soon).

I would not judge project by credit generated (see points above).
A number of active participants/machines is a good measurement of project success or let's say 'popularity'.
The problem is - it says nothing about project results it term of science or it's goals hence nothing about it's effeciency (effort and money put in, results out). It this term only, SETI does not do very well, IMNSHO.
Yet it serves pretty well in getting 'masses' into DC and computer aided science.

BOINC development has a separate funding of SETI, even some developers are/were active in both. I known I would be disliked if I say SETI is a beta for BOINC, but there are and were many features that comes from SETI specific needs and some general features were developed later.
It would be far from accurate to put SETI developers in one with BOINC developers; on the other hand, some BOINC projects added a lot to BOINC (generation of 4.x BOINC was mainly driven by CPDN needs when BOINC lacked some basic functions needed by CPDN, BURP gives a lot to BOINC forum code etc. etc.).
I think there is a good cooperation of BOINC developement effort and particular BOINC projects; SETI has no privileged position there.

It remains a question how to bring the spirit of classic SETI back.
Only a very few participants know something about science behind SETI (proportion of those interested in science being undertaken on other projects is considerable higher) and credit issue is dominating SETI forum as never seen on any other project.
I personally lack science papers published by SETI..perhaps there are not many results to discuss so far. Hence were are back to what you cited in your post - cost is a bit high when in comes to results to my taste. But you have also provided a solution so only time will tell...
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