SETI at home (SETI@home) is a distributed computing project using Internet-connected computers, hosted by the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States. SETI is an acronym for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. SETI@home was released to the public on May 17, 1999.
The goal of SETI@home is to detect intelligent life outside Earth. SETI@home searches for possible evidence of radio transmissions from extraterrestrial intelligence using data from the Arecibo radio telescope. The software searches for four signals.
The process is somewhat like tuning a radio to various channels, and looking at the signal strength meter. If the strength of the signal goes up, that gets attention. More technically, it involves a lot of digital signal processing, mostly discrete Fourier transforms at various chirp rates and durations.
While the project has not found any conclusive signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, it has identified several candidate spots for further analysis. The most significant candidate signal to date was announced on September 1, 2004, named Radio source SHGb02+14a.
Seth Shostak (2004), a prominent SETI figure, has stated that he expects to get a conclusive signal and proof of alien contact between 2020 and 2025, based on the Drake equation.
With over 5.2 million participants worldwide, the project is the distributed computing project with the most participants to date. Since its launch on May 17, 1999, the project has logged over two million years of aggregate computing time. On September 26, 2001, SETI@home had performed a total of 10 floating point operations. It is acknowledged by the Guinness World Records as the largest computation in history (Newport 2005). With over 900,000 computers in the system, SETI@home has the ability to compute over 250 TFLOPS (as of April 17, 2006). For comparison, Blue Gene (one of the the world's fastest supercomputers) computes 280 TFLOPS. (Source, Seti@home)
The SETI web site where you can read more about SETI and download the software is http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/
If you would then like to join the USS Southern Cross Team, this is the place to go: http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/team_display.php?teamid=123331
The name of our team is “USS Southern Cross NX-63550”