To the internet user, SETI@home behaves as a screensaver. When active, the
program automatically downloads a small chunk of radio-telescope data,
processes it for a few hours or days, and returns a result to the server.
Participants can choose between a range of visualizations to follow the
progress of the experiment:
Science Mode in which the analysis taking place
on the local machine is shown in real time, the significance of each
result is explained, and the process is illustrated to a level
understandable by high school science students.
Sky Progress Mode which shows how the entire experiment is covering the
sky, and summarizes at a glance all the potentially interesting results
found so far. The background for this visualization will usually be an
accurate image of the bright stars in that region of the sky, but
participants may choose more abstract representations as well.
Earth Progress Mode focuses on the people participating in the experiment.
A spinning globe of the earth will be shown with a highlight for every
individual or organization who is currently participating. The total
number of computers involved will be displayed in real time, and
participants who have been involved the longest, or have analysed the most
data will be featured.
SETI@home will be accompanied by a Web site showing the current status of
the search, providing various educational material and links on SETI,
astrobiology, and astronomy, and hosting the download of the client