Profile: Jean-David Beyer


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Personal background
I am from Strasbourg, France where I was born in July 1938. I am a retired digital systems engineer who has done a lot of computer systems programming. I am also interested in people, music, photography, books, fine dining, psychic phenomena, and a few other things.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
1.) I think it very interesting to work on such a large distributed project. SiegrI am only mildly interested in finding extraterrestrial intelligence: I think it more important to try to find some on earth, but I imagine that would be far more difficult.

2.) I think it possible that extraterrestrial life exists, but I do not
believe that we will discover it by these means. I think it remote because if it
is anything like ours, they will destroy themselves before they make contact with us either by polluting themselves to death, or by self-imposed violence. Even if they manage to avoid that, it took about 50 years from the discovery of radio until the use of spread spectrum techniques became practical. Once they do that, the present SETI@home project will not detect that as such signals would appear to be noise. So unless they are trying to be detected, we will miss them.

I think the biggest risk of discovering other intelligence is to that intelligence. If we follow our usual pattern, we will destroy them and make no beneficial use of the intelligence they may have. If they are significantly more intelligent than we, they will probably find means of avoiding detection by us.

We already are transmitting a beacon for others to find. We sent the Ed
Sullivan Show, the Howdy Doody Program, and such in the past. We are sending
equally embarassing stuff now. That is how we will be perceived by others.

3.) I run setiathome on two machines:

i.) A dual 3.06GHz Hyperthreaded Intel Xeon machine with a 1 Megabyte L3 cache on each processor and 8192 Megabytes RAM. This machine currently runs with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 with 2.6.18-53.1.14.el5PAE kernel.

ii.) A dual 550 MHz Intel Pentium III machine with 512 Megabytes RAM. This machine currently runs CentOS 4 with 2.6.9-67.0.7.ELsmp kernel.

I think it an interesting demonstration of what can be achieved by cooperation instead of competition. I am surprised that so many are willing to cooperate, donating resources, to a project without hope of financial reward. I think you should consider a follow-up project to work on when this one is completed. I need to keep my machines up anyway, so they may as well devote their spare cycles to something. But it must be something that I do not perceive to be harmful to the human race.
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