Where's the emotional pay-off ?

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Message 1787635 - Posted: 15 May 2016, 4:06:18 UTC
Last modified: 15 May 2016, 5:06:17 UTC

I was once involved in SETI@home in the Windows XP days.
I have recently started again on Linux - Lubuntu 16.04, BOINC Manager 7.6.31 (x64), SETI@home v8.
Perhaps I haven't got everything set up right, but there seems to be a lack of "emotional pay-off" for the user.

The Tasks tab shows the tasks Running, and those Ready to start, but doesn't show how many have been completed or credit earned. The Tasks button visits the account page at https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/ where this information is available. Why not on the machine where the work is being done?

The Show graphics button doesn't show anything.

Above all, there seems to be no way of getting feedback on what, if anything, my computer's efforts have found. I vaguely remember before I used to get some scores for Triples and Doubles (?).

I am not so interested in my computer's performance, as I am in what it is actually doing and finding. The workunit name is obviously packed with information, but I can't see a way of finding out what.

When I hover over the BOINC Manager icon, I get a pop-up that says "Computing is enabled, network is enabled". Vital information, I suppose, but BORING.

I guess there must also be some kind of emotional pay-off in knowing how much computing has been done by SETI@home project as a whole, even if MY contribution is tiny, and even if everyone's contribution has had no success as yet.

If the response to this rant is "Download the emotional pay-off plugin from ..." then thanks, I will. But failing that, I think the project might be missing out on a lot of long-term volunteers. There is no "WOW!" factor (pardon the pun) - it is terminally BORING.
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Message 1787656 - Posted: 15 May 2016, 6:53:47 UTC

A bit of name decoding to help you:
If the name looks like:

This is a standard MultBeam task.
This is task sourced from Arecibo on 24 March 2010
it was collected by receiver/antenna combination "ac"
the next section is splitting and other data collection info - I can't find my notes Richard Haselgrove provided me a few months ago.
At the end of the dipalyed name the "_x" is the task replication number, initially tasks "_0" and "_1" are sent out, if for one of a number of reasons, the task fails to validate it will be sent out again and "x" will be incremented (the current upper limit for "x" is 9, that is 10 users have been sent that task)
If before the replicant number there is "VLAR" then this is special case of MultiBeam task, collected when the telescope was staring at one point in space rather than sweeping across the sky. Until recently these were only processed on CPUs because they caused GPUs a lot of problems.

Next we get tasks look like

the first three characters "ap_" tell us that is an AstroPulse task, and this is supported by the "_wu" near the end.
The rest of the name structure is very similar to the MultiBeam tasks - indeed they are obtained from the same data "tapes" as the Arecibo MultiBeam data.

Finally we have tasks that look like

This is data that has come from the Green Bank telescope, the vast majority of these tasks are "VLAR".
The first bit
refers to the collector, then a reference to the star catalogue for the object being observed
Finally there is the "VLAR" flag, and replicant number - as above
This data is processed using the same application as the Arecibo MultBeam data.

That should get you started - If I find my notes, or Richard pops in I'm sure we will expand this description.
Bob Smith
Member of Seti PIPPS (Pluto is a Planet Protest Society)
Somewhere in the (un)known Universe?
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Message 1787799 - Posted: 16 May 2016, 3:37:40 UTC - in response to Message 1787656.  

Thanks for that.

If that decoding into English could be done automatically, and the work unit's name made a link to the explanation, then anyone interested could just click the link and find out for themselves what it was. The explanation could itself have links to what MultBeam, AstroPulse mean, and links to telescope backgrounders too.

Anything to draw new users in, inform them, and hold their interest, would be useful for long-term support.
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Message boards : SETI@home Science : Where's the emotional pay-off ?

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