Profile: Richard Hagen

Personal background
UIC 1986-1991, Some hobbies include: Solar and Wind Energy, Energy Storage, CNC machining, Automation, Gardening. Still reside near UIC in Chicago.

If you're looking at the UIC team and considering signing up please do. If you are a student and that shiny new graphics card that does the 1080p graphics is just sitting and lonely while you are studying, sign up and give it something to do. We can push our University to the top of the charts if just a handful of people sign up.

It is winter time now in the northern hemisphere. If you live in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere or or further north, even if you leave it crunch full speed all the time, any extra electricity consumed just ends up as heat, which might be useful around here. It is really no less efficient than an electric space heater of equivalent power consumption. 100 Joules of electrical energy gets you 100 Joules of heat either way. You can also connect Android phones and tablets such that they will crunch numbers when they are idle, charged, and connected to a charger. Thus far my home has been heated by computer generated heat along with a bit from cooking and other appliances, but the forced air gas heater has not been turned on at all yet.

These are kind of exciting times, my computers that are hooked into the project have been crunching data collected from Tabby's star. That is the strange star that seems to be dimming for some as yet unknown reason. As SETI fine tunes its methods and as the rate of computation of the system increases, the probability of detecting a signal increases, although at present it remains rather low even if they are out there due to a lack of resources. You can help with that. Wouldn't it be interesting if your computer crunched the data that proved the existence of an alien civilization?

There are also hundreds of other distributed computing research projects that you can participate in by using the BOINC software. Many of the largest problems facing mankind are being researched in this way and your excess processing power can help. If you don't like the way it runs or have some other issue with it you can always uninstall it.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
It is likely that becoming aware of alien civilizations advanced enough to utilize radio transmissions would fundamentally alter our own views of our place in this universe. I have some concerns regarding contacting ET - I think that should wait until we can ensure we won't be colonized or destroyed by them - but if they are out there, I think that learning about them and monitoring them could be of great benefit to mankind. Questions such as how they avoided destroying themselves as their technology advanced might be answered and aid us in our growth in our little space neighborhood here as we negotiate through what seem to be rather dangerous times for life here on earth.
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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.