Profile: Rob Anderson

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Personal background
I live near Toronto with my wife and three kids. I am an engineer, working with computers nearly every day, as I am one of a few programmers for the nuclear power plant training simulators at the local electrical utility.

After I had started doing my part for SETI, I checked out the website in greater depth. I was surprised to find that a friend of mine that I had known since university was in fact one of the top Canadians for number of work units processed. It's a "small world"
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
I think I heard about SETI@home somewhere on the TV, probably in some science newsmagazine type of show, maybe in SETI's second year. It intrigued me that all those idle computer clock cycles between mouse clicks could be put to some beneficial use, and so I set out to see if I could download a version for my (original) iMac. That turned out not to be a problem at all. I have recently upgraded to an iMac G5, so I can process work units faster! :)

The SETI@home project is a great way to use the abilities provided by the Internet to involve people everywhere in some interesting science, at really very little additional cost to the participants. If something really significant is found "out there", it will open the doors to further work, perhaps leading to direct communication far down the road. I am sure we have some big obstacles to overcome (like the light-years of distance) before we can truly communicate with another world, but (as with the moon landings and other great achievements) the spin-offs from just trying - just setting the goal and striving for it - will greatly, and I hope positively, influence us all here at home. It might make us feel small and inadequate to know we are not alone, but it might also help us to see that our little home planet is rare and perfect, and worth treating with the utmost respect and care, as we are its only stewards.

I am not a super-swift work-unit cruncher, but at least I am doing whatever I can for the project. I've finished over 500 "classic" units. I have just upgraded to BOINC, and joined in on two other projects.
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