Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: SETI.USA Team History

  1. #1
    Past Admin DrBob's Avatar
    Join Date
    October 25th, 2010
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    266

    SETI.USA Team History

    This article was written for the March 2010 Team SETI.USA News for the team's 5th Anniversary.
    Re-posted to our new forums by request.


    SETI.USA Team History


    The year was 2005 and SETI.Germany was the #1 team on the SETI@Home project with a lead that was apparently untouchable by any challengers. In a dorm room filled with ancient computers searching for a signal of extraterrestrial life our original team founder Project III was struck with an epiphany. Noticing that the USA had more active participants on the project producing more credit per day than the country of the top team he thought why couldn’t the United States capture the #1 position? He realized it was because the production of the USA was fragmented across numerous teams. There needed to be a team that would attempt to unite those crunchers into a power house that had the capability to unseat the reining team on SETI@Home.

    On March 24, 2005 team SETI.USA was founded. Choosing a name for the team was intuitive; as the goal was to unseat SETI.Germany from its #1 position SETI.USA would be the team to do so. Project III and his friend JoeJoe worked the SETI@Home message boards attempting to recruit new members and boasting of the fledgling team’s plan of unseating SETI.Germany from the top of the leader board. Their posts were dismissed, and ridiculed, told their goal was unattainable, if the current larger teams on the project could not catch SETI.Germany this upstart team consisting of only a handful of members had no chance in doing so. Believing in their vision Project III and JoeJoe continued their efforts and although the majority of replies to their posts were negative a few members slowly started to join the team. A few months later JoeJoe managed to recruit a couple members by the nicks of BlkJack-21 & Fshslar (Fish) who also became involved in recruiting members to join the mission and developed the team’s first web site. These four members, Project III, JoeJoe, BlkJack-21, and Fish were the main driving force for our team in its infancy.



    The “Four Horsemen” 12.26.2005 - BlkJack-21, Fish, Project III, JoeJoe

    On Oct 23, 2005 the team gained its 100th member! In actuality the membership at that time was slightly less as a few early members had multiple user IDs set up to make the team look larger than it actually was hoping this would attract others to join the team. On Halloween night, the team made its goal of 1,000,000 cobblestones on the SETI@home project. By Dec 22 SETI.USA had moved up into the top 10 teams for daily output on the SETI@Home project with a team output near 86,000 cobblestones a day increasing to 100,000 cobblestones by the Dec 26th.

    With the continuing addition of new enthused and dedicated members SETI.USA was steadily moving up the leader board. In 2006 milestones and team accomplishments increased in an exponential manner. With other projects coming online in BOINC and the teams output no longer dedicated to only SETI@Home the team passed 5,000,000 total credits on the project on Jan 01 and doubled that by Jan 21. Things were really starting to move at this point. On Jan 22, 2006 for the first time SETI.USA surpassed SETI.Germany’s output on the SETI@Home project for the first time. The title of top producing team was exchanged between the two teams a few times but on Jan 25 SETI.USA re-gained and would except for a couple brief periods maintain the lead in daily output on SETI@Home. With an approximate 90,000,000 credit gap between the two teams we were now gaining on the #1 position daily.

    The team’s motto “Together we will accomplish something amazing!” was certainly true, 10 months earlier no one had heard of team SETI.USA now they were the top producing team and still growing!

    Feb 03, 2006 SETI.USA became the first team to pass a daily output of 1,000,000 cobblestones on the SETI@Home project. One of the many firsts to follow in the team’s future. Feb 21st would see the team pass 1300 members; by May 10th the team’s strength would be up to 2100 members. The team was still picking up speed and many finally realized that yes, SETI.USA may indeed have the ability to gain the #1 position on SETI@Home unseating the once though untouchable SETI.Germany.

    In June 2006 the team was being noticed by those outside of the BOINC community. Two of our members BlkJack-21 and Daniel Schaalma were interviewed by a reporter from the Wall Street Journal regarding SETI.USA’s participation in the SETI@Home project. On Jun 28, 2006 the article “How Many Computers Does It Take to Make Contact with E.T.s?” was published by the Wall Street Journal. Although there were some inaccuracies regarding the founders of our team and a comment taken out of context by the reporter to support his position (who would have thought that would happen at the WSJ?) the article was overall beneficial in giving our team exposure and we believed helped in recruiting additional members.


    The following article has been reprinted in its entirety from the Wall Street Journal HERE.

    How Many Computers Does It Take to Make Contact with E.T.s?

    LeeGomes.jpg
    By
    Lee Gomes
    Updated June 28, 2006 12:01 a.m. ET

    Maybe the easiest thing would be to blame the Germans.

    Without their dedication to science, Chris Benoit would never have started Seti.USA. And absent that, one of the computer world's least-known but most powerful monopolies might not still exist. Yes, it's true that even without the Seti@Home crowd bigfooting the world of distributed computing, we probably still would have incurable diseases and dangerous climate change. But we'd be a lot closer to solutions than we are now, don't you think?

    We should back up in our story a bit.

    In the late 1990s, David P. Anderson, a University of California, Berkeley, computer scientist, realized that with the global Internet connecting millions of often-idle computers, the time had come for "distributed computing." This takes one big scientific computer problem and breaks it into little pieces, to be farmed out to many machines.

    After Dr. Anderson wrote his software, he needed a problem for the machines to tackle. He chose SETI, the "search for extra-terrestrial intelligence." His Seti@Home would pore through the data from the Arecibo radio telescope looking for blips that might indicate intelligent life.

    To make things interesting, there was added a scoring system, which awarded points to users for the computer time they donated, and allowed them to compete to see who could rack up the most. The credits are good only for bragging rights but would become a potent motivator. In fact, with finding E.T. such a long shot, the competition for points quickly became a main reason for taking part.

    Dr. Anderson's real interest was distributed computing; the extraterrestrial angle was something of an attention-getting gimmick. But it was a spectacular success. Nearly a million downloaded the software that enabled their computers to analyze the Arecibo data. And it worked brilliantly.

    And so other researchers -- biologists looking into proteins implicated in Alzheimer's, say, or physicists exploring fine points in relativity -- all began lining up at Dr. Anderson's Web site, boinc.berkeley.edu, seeking help for their own projects.

    There was a problem, though: Seti@Homers didn't want to switch their allegiance. Hundreds of thousands keep running the SETI software -- far more than any other distributed-computing project. What was supposed to be a test case became a powerful entrenched interest. Today, Seti@Home is to distributed computing what AARP is to social-security reform.

    A big reason for the inertia turned out to be the points, which users had spent years accumulating. As with frequent-flier miles, they didn't want to lose them by switching.

    This is where the Germans come in. Early on, they had formed a team, Seti.Germany, which dominated the results, even though more Americans participated. That rankled Chris Benoit, a Chicago health-care worker. "Hey, we're America, and we've always accomplished great things," he recalls thinking.

    Thus was born Seti.USA, which quickly began outpacing the Germans. But a consequence is that now, with national rivalries mixed in, there was even less chance of anyone doing anything besides Seti@Home.

    Seti.USA members take this competition very seriously, so much so that they will buy more computers in search of points. Daniel T. Schaalma, of Fond du Lac, Wis., a former machinist, has 23 in his house, mostly scattered across banquet tables in his basement. "I've probably spent in excess of $20,000 on them over the years," he says. "It's basically a hobby for me. Yeah, it's expensive, but golf can get pretty expensive, too."

    Team.USA members say it's all friendly competition and good, clean, scientific fun -- Mr. Benoit was even once named "Member of the Month" of the German team.

    Maybe, but there have been wars started over soccer.

    This continued fascination with living-room SETI comes as professional setiologists concede that early assumptions about the search for intelligent life -- notably those popularized by astronomer Carl Sagan -- have proven naively optimistic.

    For instance, it's now conceded there is little chance of detecting the "leaking" transmissions of another planet -- its version of "I Love Lucy" broadcasts. Those signals are too weak to stand out from the universe's background noise.

    Dr. Anderson says he himself doesn't run Seti any more. Instead, he donates his spare computer power to a global warming project. But he doesn't presume to tell others what they ought to be doing with their CPU cycles.

    Scientists, including those who would benefit from the freed-up computers, are similarly tolerant. "It's hard for me to criticize their choice," said one.

    This columnist, though, knows no such compulsion. I asked Mr. Benoit: With polar ice caps melting, doesn't someone who continues to use their computer for manifestly less timely problems surely have water on their hands?

    He replied, "You're really putting me in a corner, aren't you?"

    *Write to Lee Gomes at lee.gomes@wsj.com

    *Lee Gomes is currently a Freelance Writer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Mar 08, 2007 SETI.USA passed SETI.Germany in total credit on the SETI@Home project. In less than two years since its inception team SETI.USA passed all teams participating in SETI@Home and became the #1 team for total credit on the project. SETI.USA’s #1 position has never been threatened and today retains over a 239,000,000 lead there thanks to ALL of its dedicated members.
    After completing the team’s original goal and expanding our lead many members moved on to other projects running under BOINC. The team set out with a new goal of becoming the #1 team for total credit across all BOINC projects. This was accomplished on Sep 19, 2007.

    Although our team has had its “ups and downs” the ups greatly outweigh the downs. SETI.USA remains a major player in teams participating in BOINC. Our team currently is 1st in total BOINC credit. SETI.USA leads the way with 23 #1 positions in BOINC projects and has more “top 10” ranks at 79 than any other team.

    What does the future hold for SETI.USA? That’s entirely up to the team’s members. SETI.USA has been successful in its endeavors only because of the wonderful group of highly dedicated members that have joined us here. This team is nothing without its members. Each and every team member whether he has one computer or hundreds is vital to the success of the team’s future challenges.
    Let’s make the next 5 years even more exciting and successful than the past 5 have been working together to keep SETI.USA the best distributed computing team participating in BOINC.

    “Together we will accomplish something amazing!”…
    Last edited by STMahlberg; 02-07-17 at 01:12 PM. Reason: Updated photo and article.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
    Maxwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    October 25th, 2010
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Posts
    3,273

    Re: SETI.USA Team History

    Thanks, DrBob! This has been also upgraded to article status to make it more salient on our front page...

  3. #3
    Silver Member
    DrBackJack's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 14th, 2012
    Location
    El Centro, Calif.
    Posts
    544

    Re: SETI.USA Team History

    Great story ! It shows what free people can do working together.-- Anything !

  4. #4
    Past Administrator
    Fire$torm's Avatar
    Join Date
    October 13th, 2010
    Location
    In the Big City
    Posts
    7,902

    Re: SETI.USA Team History

    Quote Originally Posted by DrBackJack View Post
    Great story ! It shows what free people can do working together.-- Anything !
    Affirmative!


    Future Maker? Teensy 3.6

  5. #5
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    March 30th, 2012
    Location
    Toms River New Jersey
    Posts
    49

    Re: SETI.USA Team History

    Bravo!!!!!!!

  6. #6
    Silver Member
    kmanley57's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 1st, 2012
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    193

    Re: SETI.USA Team History

    I remember reading some of those recruitment posts on Seti! Gee! Where did all those years go.

    Many years, e-Mail addresses, and computers ago!
    BOINC Sees it - BOINC DOES it!



  7. #7
    Diamond Member
    Duke of Buckingham's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 14th, 2011
    Location
    Lisboa = Portugal
    Posts
    8,382

    Re: SETI.USA Team History



    Time goes by ... doesn't it.

  8. #8
    Silver Member
    litehouse43's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 4th, 2012
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    114

    Re: SETI.USA Team History

    Thanks for posting this, very interesting. Always nice to know the history!



  9. #9
    Past Admin DrBob's Avatar
    Join Date
    October 25th, 2010
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    266

    Re: SETI.USA Team History

    Sorry I'm a couple days late but...

    Happy Birthday SETI.USA!

    11 years old and still one of the top producing BOINC teams!

    Nice to see the team is still doing well. I noticed quite a few new names here. Its also good to see some members from the early days are still around, brings back some good memories.

    CRUNCH ON!

  10. #10
    Silver Member
    shiva's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 9th, 2010
    Location
    Midway USA
    Posts
    981

    Re: SETI.USA Team History

    well hello Dr Bob, good to see you here. lots of changes in the last 11 years. maybe most are good.
    https://signature.statseb.fr/sig-1240.png

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •