I remember being introduced to the Seti@Home Project, back in 1999, and have been consistantly running packets of data for them on multiple machines both at home and my places of work. The concept of running data on my computer that has originally come from the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico was always kind of cool, plus there is that bit of me that would love to be involved with finding some sort of Extra-Terrestrial Signal.
Now the folks at Berkeley have gone and created a new method for distributed computing. BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) is the new generation software for handling packets of data, and after some initial hesitation of leaving my beloved 2D Seti@Home application behind, I uninstalled it and installed the newest version of BOINC in its place.
I'm quite impressed with how it works. I now have my Seti account transferred to BOINC, and notice that packets seem to run faster than the old application, especially when I'm away from the machine for a few hours, such as today. Plus I can now choose when I want to see a graphic representation of the packets being tested, and the display is in a really cool 3D format.
Furthermore, I can now sign up for other projects, and the software will divide the Processing between any of the projects as I see fit. Not much to choose from, yet, so I added Climateprediction.net to my list. Really cool stuff, but it takes a lot longer to run than a normal Seti packet. Where I can usually resolve Seti in about 6 hours, it appears that Climateprediction will take a month! I'm at 3% with 635 hours to go. Woah....
If you are interested and willing to allow work to occur on your PC when you aren't, check out BOINC, and sign up. It's fairly simple to run, and you are doing a great favour to science in general.