Re: Seeking extropian opinion: GIMPS vs SETI?

Michael S. Lorrey (
Sat, 15 May 1999 19:31:22 -0400

Sasha Chislenko wrote:
> I think both projects are pretty useless.
> I am running GIMPS out of curiosity and for a chance to
> win $50K from EFF (I'd rather it had financed my Newsfilter
> project). Explanations why GIMPS is useful on their own
> page are quite pathetic.
> It's strange that nobody has found more productive tasks
> that could be distributed among multiple computers.
> 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.
> Anybody has suggestions for distributed computations that
> would actually be useful?
> Do you know any practical tasks that require high computational
> power and can be easily parallelized?

The reason why these projects are popular is because of the curiosity factor, and because they are both goals which have no direct profit motive. If you want to get thousands or millions of people doing parallel processing for something, the motivator is the idea of finding "real live aliens", or the X-factor. If you were actually making a profit off of the work their computers were doing they'd obviously want to get paid for it...

Mike Lorrey