Re: Seeking extropian opinion: GIMPS vs SETI?

Eugene Leitl (
Sat, 15 May 1999 17:38:10 -0700 (PDT)

Sasha Chislenko writes:
> I think both projects are pretty useless.

I agree. However, seti@home at least provides a detailed map of the radio skies. I'd rather wish they'd look for peculiarly white RF sources but I guess technical difficulties detecting them are prohibitive. The signal strength will be very low, and the signals are probably highly directed.

> It's strange that nobody has found more productive tasks
> that could be distributed among multiple computers.

Well, due to the nature of the links the task must require essentially zero communication. Distributing slices of search space where results take a great long while to compute and collecting the compact results is a pretty strong constraint.

> SETI does sound like it has at least some chance to find
> something of interest. I'd be willing to bet anything
> against aliens though. And I wouldn't want it to slow
> down my computer.

It doesn't, since it's very nice -- at least the Linux version is. It takes 10 MBytes RAM to run though.

> Anybody has suggestions for distributed computations that
> would actually be useful?

Yes. Huge distributed GAs to find the best mutation function for mutating machine code and FPGA cells and mapping rules of 3d CA spaces. All computationally expensive yet requiring little bandwidth.

> Do you know any practical tasks that require high computational
> power and can be easily parallelized?