What is SETI@home Enhanced?

On May 3, 2006 we started distributing work for a new version of SETI@home called "SETI@home Enhanced". This new version is a factor of two more sensitive to Gaussian signals and to some kinds of pulsed signals than the original SETI@home. There is a cost to this increased sensitivity in terms of the extra analysis requiring more computing power. But thanks to the efforts of some SETI@home volunteers, this new application has been optimized to the point where it will run faster on some workunits than earlier versions. However some workunits (the best workunits, scientifically speaking) will take significantly longer. Here are the answers to some questions you may have.

How do I get SETI@home Enhanced?
You don't have to do anything in order to get the new version. BOINC will download it automatically when you are given work to be done by the new version. We are releasing this work slowly, because the new version is fairly large, and we don't want to use up all of our bandwidth with downloads of the new application.

When will I get SETI@home Enhanced?
Because we are proceeding slowly it may take up to a month to distribute the new version to everyone.

Will I notice a difference when I get the new version?
There's not much visual difference between the new version and the previous version. The only differences are that the title above the data analysis section has been changed to "SETI@home Enhanced" and the location at which the data has been taken has been added to the workunit information display. You will probably notice a change in the amount of time needed to process the data. The range of processing times are far more variable than previous versions were.

Should I cancel the work units I am currently working on?
Please don't. It's likely you will more work for the standard SETI@home before you get work for SETI@home Enhanced.

Can I download the Enhanced application manually and run it on the work units I already have?
The Enhanced application generated different results than the standard application. If you run SETI@home Enhanced on work designed for the standard app, your results won't compare with the other results for that work unit, your work will be marked invalid, and you won't get credit for your work.

Will credits change with the new version?
The new version grants credits in a slightly different fashion than the old version. Credits are now based upon the actual number of floating point operations done rather than by multiplying the benchmark results by the time taken. That means that there will be a much smaller spread in the claimed credits than with the standard version. Some computers may get more credit per hour than before, some may get less.

Will my current credits go away?

Will optimized versions be available?
Yes. The source code is available under the terms of the GPL, so people who want specifically optimized versions can build them and distribute them. Because SETI@home links with other libraries released under the GPL, we need to be more strict in how we enforce the terms of the license. People who distribute optimized versions must include copies of the files README, COPYING, COPYRIGHT, and AUTHORS with the binaries they distribute. If the distributors of optimized versions modify the source code of SETI@home, they must make the modified source code available as well. If you set up SETI@home Enhanced using the BOINC anonymous platform mechanism it is important that you use "setiathome_enhanced" as the application name.

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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.