particle_collision image SETI@Home Project Homepage

Fermilab SETI@Home Team

Fermilab -- Where we smash atoms, so you don't have to


On Monday, Aug. 16th, 1999, I defined the "Fermilab - Friends of SETI@Home" team for the SETI@Home Project. Any and all persons who have an association with (or simply want to show support of) Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory are welcome to join the team.

Visit the "Fermilab - Friends of SETI@Home" page for the current status of the results submitted by our team members. Check the Top 100 Government Agency Teams page to see our status compared to other sites in our category.

What's New

Mon. 13 Dec 2004 - One of our local papers, The Beacon News, printed a front page article highlighting our SETI@Home team. I appreciate the recognition of the contribution of our team. We use the SETI@Home software during burn-in testing for many of our new farm nodes. These tests run for 30 days after the new systems are installed. After the completion of the burn-in tests, those nodes are released for use by experiments conducted here at Fermilab. We will begin a new test with 440 nodes starting 21 Dec. Check back soon to see how quickly our numbers go up.

Tues. 5 Oct 2004 - I added some links near the end of this page to information on other Distributed Computing projects. Just some info for those curious about other projects they might be able to contribute CPU cycles to.

Mon. 17 May 2004 - The Planetary Society is honoring the Top 10 Teams and Individuals on SETI@home's 5th Anniversary. There is an article on their website by Susan Lendroth. I got an e-mail from her asking for the address where she can send a certificate recognizing the Fermilab Team for earning a place on the Top Ten list of Government Agency SETI@Home teams. My thanks to all who have contributed to this team achievement.

Wed. 4 Feb 2004 - Well the burn-in tests that started with my previous update are officially over. The test programs, including the SETI@Home instances, are being turned off as nodes are put into production use. The burn-in account has climbed to 36th place on the list of the 100 Top Users submitting work-units. As of roughly 4am CST yesterday, the team was listed with 452662 work units processed. In total, these tests have contributed 292.883 years of CPU time.

Fri. 12 Dec 2003 - It has again been a while since I updated this page. I just turned on a new round of burn-in tests on 96 new nodes. As we begin this round of testing, we are currently in 46th place on the overall list. The team lists 61 members totaling 486150 results submitted for a total of 415.409 CPU-years. The Farm Burn-in user is listed with 380937 results for a total of 263.164 CPU-years. The average time per work-unit is listed as 6 hours and 3 mins.

Important Notice

Wednesday, Dec. 8th, 1999, I've been asked to remind the users of Fermilab Systems that the SETI@Home programs are not for use on the lab's multi-user systems. Running a process to make use of "spare CPU cycles" on a desktop workstation does not interfere with any other work of the laboratory. The multi-user systems, such as the nodes of FNALU and other shared servers, is not appropriate. Recent system scans have found people running SETI@Home processes on such servers. Please discontinue such usage. We would not want to have all SETI@Home programs banned from Fermilab Systems.

How to Join the Team

To join our team you will need to have the password that's assigned to your SETI@Home "account". When you first joined you gave them an e-mail address and all your work unit credit is recorded under that e-mail. They don't provide you your password, until you ask for it. There are at least two screens where they offer you the chance to request your password. One is where you go to "Change Your Account Info". On that form you enter your e-mail address and click the link for "If you don't know your password". They will then mail your password to the e-mail address provided.

Once you have your password, you should visit the "Fermilab - Friends of SETI@Home" page and choose the "Join the Group" selection. Enter your e-mail address and password and you will be added to the Fermilab team. Your credits may not show up on the team page until the next automatic daily update. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate your contribution.


We are about to begin another round of burn-in tests. Before starting this test, the Farm Burn-in account is currently in 49th place on the list of 100 Top Users submitting work-units. Due to the continued contributions of the team's 61 active members, Fermilab is riding high in 3rd place on the "SETI@home Top 100 Government Agency" site. Our Fermilab team is currently in 133rd place (down from 128) on the Top 200 Teams listing. This Top 200 teams list includes all groups from Government, Education, Businesses and Clubs.

The following are from the Government Agency Teams and the Sub-domains of gov listings:

     Fri Dec 17 22:41:14 2004 UTC  Members  Work-units  CPU-years
        1) US NAVY             468    1,968,285  1,498.013
        2) US Air Force        487    1,488,374  1,417,458
        3) Fermilab - FOS       61      770,294    546,832
        7) NASA                201      399,302    480,081
       10) US ARMY             152      272,967    297.729
       11) EPPE Lab, NIMA        2      266,720    237.929
       14) U.S. Marine Corps   250      227,228    259.657
       16) NASA Glenn           48      198,796    217.113
       34) CERN                 53      115,451    181.643
     Sat Dec 18 11:32:19 2004 UTC  Members  Work-units  CPU-years
        1) '' domain  2145    1,298,441  1,964.976
        2) '' domain   168      750,512    566.838

Please visit our Status Updates page for a chronological listing of all the status updates. It allows you to see how our standings have changed over time.

Other Statistics

10 Jan 2001 - Visit the SETI@Home Stats page at "Roving Mouse". The page offers a variety of interesting and very current overview statistics related to the SETI@Home project. It has charts to help you visualize the data. It is updated quite regularly.

On Wed. 6 Oct. 1999, I wandered through some of the statistics pages available from the SETI Homepage. If you visit these pages, some of the numbers might be different. These statistics were posted at 21:00 UTC on Wed Oct. 6th. I've suggested this page to some friends who don't work in the computer field, so I'll try to keep this in simple terms. I am also showing a few updated values as of Mon. 31 Jan. 2000 14:02 UTC

In the News

One of our team members found an article, through Slash-Dot, that was published in The New York Times on 8 Feb 2000. The article is entitled "Maybe We Are Alone in the Universe, After All". There is a side-bar on this article by William J. Board entitled "1.6 Million Cyberlings Go a-Hunting for Aliens" which discusses the SETI@Home project. Fermilab is mentioned in a paragraph about "top performers". BTW, the "59 years" of computer time that they credit us with is just the 'Farm Burn-in test'. Our Team contribution is actually over 80 CPU-years and over 80,000 work-units.

The 30 Aug 1999 Chicago Tribune carried an article entitled "ALIEN SEEKERS GET 1 MILLION PC USERS TO CHIP IN". We at Fermilab have been practicing a form of distributed computation for some time now. This new method has shown remarkable success in its first few months. There was a nice graphic in the newspaper (hard-copy) that was not found in the on-line copy (no longer available). I have the hard-copy up on the wall of my office if anyone wants to stop by and see it (FCC 252g). I found it to be a very interesting article.

Tools (aka. Contributed Library)

These tools were either developed, contributed or recommended by folks on the team. Credit is given for each contribution. If you use a script or other related tool which is not shown on this list, please drop me an e-mail with the details and I'll gladly add it to this list. There is also a page on the SETI@home site listing other websites with related add-ons.

UNIX Add-ons

Links to other related web sites

Representation of SETI Statistics

Other Distributed Computing Projects

I found a site that discusses Internet-based Disributed Computing Projects in very general terms. Their site "is designed for non-technical people who are interested in learning about, and participating in, public, Internet-based projects which apply distributed computing science to solving real-world problems." Their list of Active Projects is much larger than I first expected. They also have links to lots of other related topics.

For more information on Grid Computing, a good place to start is called Grid Cafe. That site is hosted at CERN.

Suggestion Box

Suggestions and comments about "what this page should include" or "what you like or don't like about the page" would be greatly appreciated. Please e-mail your comments to Ken Schumacher


Participation using ones home computer system is not in question. This is clearly a matter of personal choice. Using one's desktop system at Fermilab falls under the "Fermilab Policy on Computing". I want to put together a proposal which may get official authorization for the use of spare CPU cycles on desktop workstations. I have begun to draft this proposal and would appreciate any input others may have. Any individual who participates using computer equipment belonging to Fermilab should do so based on his/her own interpretation of Fermilab's "acceptable use" policies. Fermilab policy and rules for computing, including appropriate use, may be found at

My own interpretation is that the use of spare cycles on my desktop workstation falls within acceptable use. I find nothing in the "Policy on Computing" which would forbid or discourage such use of the system. I do believe that there is a "gray area" where the policy discusses "Appropriate Use". The section states that any questions about use are management questions. The proposal that I'd like to write would seek to list participation in the SETI@Home project as an authorized or acceptable use of spare CPU cycles, to eliminate this gray area. Note: I've been saying I want to do this for quite some time. I've just not made the time outside of work to do this. I've also not heard any complaints, so perhaps the acceptability of this is not as questionable as was previously suggested to me.

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