Profile: Brandon Clark

Personal background
I make my living as an accountant, but my interests also include SETI, ham radio, hiking, and shooting. My dad was running SETI@home when it first came out, and I got back into it a few years ago. I like being able to donate to a good cause - especially since it's donating computer time that I'm not using anyway.

I started out with a laptop and desktop that I began leaving on all the time so that they could run the program. That was pretty cool, and I stuck with that for a while. This last year I found a local source for discarded business computers, and started putting them back into action running BOINC. I added a few computers, then a switch, then dedicated cabling . . . and you know how it goes. One thing led to another until I had ten systems running.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
Originally I just had my home desktop and phone running the application. In 2018 I gained access to a source for retired business computers, and started piecing together a small home computer farm. As of May 2019 I have ten systems running the program, with another eight or so coming online in a month or two. All of my systems are running Ubuntu linux, except for two. For the dedicated crunching machines I do a bare bones installation of linux, without anything other than the necessary programs. For each system I change the background to a simple graphic with the computer's name shown, give the system a static IP address on my router, and enable screen sharing and control.

A dummy plug in the computing machine fools it into thinking there is a monitor attached. That allows me to remote into the crunching machines through Remmina with just a few clicks and a password. With the sleep and screen lock functions turned off there is always a desktop to log in to. I set up these systems to automatically log in when they restart, so even if I lose power or do a restart for updates I never have to connect a real monitor, keyboard, and mouse (after the initial setup). Talk about low maintenance!
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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.