Rules and policies

Run SETI@home only on authorized computers

Run SETI@home only on computers that you own, or for which you have obtained the owner's permission. Some companies and schools have policies that prohibit using their computers for projects such as SETI@home.

How SETI@home will use your computer

When you run SETI@home on your computer, it will use part of the computer's CPU power, disk space, and network bandwidth. You can control how much of your resources are used by SETI@home, and when it uses them.

The work done by your computer contributes to the goals of SETI@home, as described on its web site. The application programs may change from time to time.

Privacy policy

Your account on SETI@home is identified by a name that you choose. This name may be shown on the SETI@home web site, along with a summary of the work your computer has done for SETI@home. If you want to be anonymous, choose a name that doesn't reveal your identity.

If you participate in SETI@home, information about your computer (such as its processor type, amount of memory, etc.) will be recorded by SETI@home and used to decide what type of work to assign to your computer. This information will also be shown on SETI@home's web site. Nothing that reveals your computer's location (e.g. its domain name or network address) will be shown.

To participate in SETI@home, you must give an address where you receive email. This address will not be shown on the SETI@home web site or shared with organizations. SETI@home may send you periodic newsletters; however, you can opt out at any time.

Private messages sent on the SETI@home web site are visible only to the sender and recipient. SETI@home does not examine or police the content of private messages. If you receive unwanted private messages from another SETI@home user, you may add them to your message filter . This will prevent you from seeing any public or private messages from that user.

If you use our web site forums you must follow the posting guidelines . Messages posted to the SETI@home forums are visible to everyone, including non-members. By posting to the forums, you are granting irrevocable license for anyone to view and copy your posts.

Is it safe to run SETI@home?

Any time you download a program through the Internet you are taking a chance: the program might have dangerous errors, or the download server might have been hacked. SETI@home has made efforts to minimize these risks. We have tested our applications carefully. Our servers are behind a firewall and are configured for high security. To ensure the integrity of program downloads, all executable files are digitally signed on a secure computer not connected to the Internet.

The applications run by SETI@home may cause some computers to overheat. If this happens, stop running SETI@home or use a utility program that limits CPU usage.

SETI@home was developed by University of California. BOINC was developed at the University of California.


SETI@home and University of California assume no liability for damage to your computer, loss of data, or any other event or condition that may occur as a result of participating in SETI@home.

Other BOINC projects

Other projects use the same platform, BOINC, as SETI@home. You may want to consider participating in one or more of these projects. By doing so, your computer will do useful work even when SETI@home has no work available for it.

These other projects are not associated with SETI@home, and we cannot vouch for their security practices or the nature of their research. Join them at your own risk.

©2024 University of California
SETI@home and Astropulse are funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and donations from SETI@home volunteers. AstroPulse is funded in part by the NSF through grant AST-0307956.