PAUL RAPSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL RAPSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
SETI screen saver. Teenage girl sitting in front of a computer with a SETI@home screensaver. The privately-funded SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) project in the USA scans the sky for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from an alien race. These signals are not known to occur naturally, so if detected could be presumed to come from an intelligent extraterrestrial lifeform. Instead of using supercomputers to analyse the data, a large number of personal internet-connected computers are used. The SETI@home program is downloaded and runs when the computer is not in use; in the place of a screensaver. It downloads, analyses and then uploads the data.
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