Re: seti@home

Philip Witham (
Wed, 07 Jul 1999 12:42:30 -0700

>Hey people! The MORMONS are in the top 100 and we aren't!!!! This is

Hmmn. There are a LOT more of them than there are of us! Well, if the Mormon's unused CPU cycles are put to work for our goals also...

An interesting thing emerges from the SETI@HOME statistics page. Most of the total computation is done by the mass of slow computers. The fastest computers have provided the smallest total result. In fact, the fastest computer listed crunched only one work unit.

I think this is a general principle at work, the democratization of computing power. Probably others have pointed it out. It has implications for the future. I think the driving force is this: The value to an individual of a unit of computing power decreases as the individual has more. Also the cost of a unit of computing power goes down as more copies of that computer design are made. So, lots of slow computers get built, and their number outweighs the difference in speed. Also: the more copies sold, the more designers/programmers work on that platform.

If these principles hold true into an uploaded/augmented future, I think it will be a Good Thing. If brain power is ~proportional to computing power, then this will tend to keep humanity together in the same general area of evolution. At least in terms of hardware. :-}