Arecibo Radio Observatory, Puerto Rico

GUI Client Speedup Tips: Windows 95/98/ME | Windows NT/2000/XP/2003
Non-GUI (text) Client Speedup Tips: Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003 | Sun Solaris 2.5.1. | Multiple CPUs
Misc: SETI Toys | non-SETI_Toys | News | Links
Speed up info for Windows NT

Click here to learn about "SETI@Home"SETI@home is a scientific experiment that harnesses the power of hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data. There's a small but captivating possibility that your computer will detect the faint murmur of a civilization beyond Earth.


General Tips:
SETI@home usually runs at 'idle' priority.
Use a program like 'TaskInfo' or 'ProcessSwitch' to increase it to 'normal'.
On Unix/Linux operating systems check the command-line parameter 'nice'.
In Windows check your Startup folder.
Check other programs that are running with Ctrl-Alt-Delete. (TaskManager)
Run 'msconfig' (part of windows). Uncheck any unwanted programs.
Check for programs running unused hardware. Perhaps a WinModem.
A WinModem is a cheaper modem as some of the hardware had been
removed and is being done by software.
If you have PCMCIA/Card Services/Socket Services but aren't using it,
remove, delete or kill these extra programs.
Again you can check using programs like TaskInfo or WinTop.
Cache extra Work Units on your computer, in case SETI@home is down,
or your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is down, or you go on vacation.
Cache 1 or 2 days worth of extra Work units.
There are many Work Unit caching programs, depending on your
operating system and which SETI@home client you are using ...
BIOS
Turn off power saving
L1 and L2 CPU cache - enable
Disable memory hole 15M-16M
IDE HDD block mode - enable
Gate A20 - enable
Shadow RAM - off
Cache video RAM - off
Shadow video RAM - off

Text (CLI) vs GUI.

GUI Client Speedup Tips for Windows 95/98/NT/ME/2000/2003

Overview: The SETI@Home client program will run as fast as possible if it can stay in L2 Cache without any competition from other programs so do the following:

  1. from the SETI@Home application
    click "Settings"
    click "Preferences"
    click "Data Analysis"
    check "Data Analysis Always Runs"
    click "OK"
  2. from "Windows Task Bar"
    click "Start"
    click "Settings"
    click "Control Panel"
    click "Display"
    click "Screen Saver"
    click on "Screen Saver:" drop down menu and select "Blank Screen"
    click "OK"
    • a screen saver will steal some CPU cycles and will also hammer the L2 Cache every time the OS allows it a time slice to run. (tens to hundreds of times per second)
  3. Only run the "SETI@Home Client" in a collapsed window so...
    1. the system won't waste CPU time updating the analysis graph
    2. the L2 Cache won't be constantly hammered by the SETI graphing routines.
  4. If a virus shield is enabled to constantly run in the background...
    1. then set "What to scan" to "Program Files only" so the virus detector won't slow down the SETI Client every time the client writes to the results file.
    2. make sure that all incoming data (via floppy, email or download) is fully scanned (select "all files" and also enable "scan compressed files")
    3. but never turn off virus checking
  5. Pause the Task Scheduler (or disable all the scheduled tasks associated with it). Failure to do this will cause the following scheduled jobs to interfere with the SETI@Home client:
    1. "Maintenance-Defragment programs" (usually runs once a week)
    2. "Maintenance-Disk cleanup" (usually runs once a month)
    3. "Maintenance-ScanDisk" (usually runs once week)
    4. "Windows Critical Update Notification" (usually runs once every 5 minutes)
  6. If you have MS-Office installed then consider finding and deleting the program "Findfast.exe". This program will run occasionally in the background to maintain an index of every file on the disk. It also seems to cause the SETI@Home client to occasionally stop with a "FileOpen" error. BTW, it must be deleted while you system is in DOS mode.

GUI Client Speedup Tips for Windows NT4

General Use

  1. do a 3 finger salute (Ctrl-Atl-Del) to bring up the "Windows NT Security" panel
  2. click on the "Task Manager" tab
  3. locate the "SETI@Home" name in the task name list then "right click" on it
  4. click on "change priority"
  5. click on one of the following settings in the pop-up:
    1. low - This is the default setting for SETI@Home. Most Windows background tasks run at this level.
    2. normal - This should work with SETI@Home on any Pentium system. Most Windows foreground tasks run at this level.
    3. high - This should work with SETI@Home on any high power Pentium systems (>450 MHz)
    4. real time - don't ever select this or you'll need to reboot your machine to get control of it. SETI@Home is a compute bound process which means that very little I/O will take place once it starts to run in real time mode. You may even have trouble with I/O from SETI@Home to the hard drive.
  6. Some people have told me to they have shaved up to 2 hours off their WU times just by installing Service Pack 5. I've tried this with my 2 machines at work and have seen savings anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes. (However, my machines are on a large corporate LAN and may be slowed down by constant network overhead so install SP5 yourself and you be the judge)

Techie Use Only

Danger Will Robinson! This Can Really Mess Up Your Machine! If you don't know what you are doing then don't mess with any of this stuff!

  1. run regedit (techies already know how)
  2. navigate down the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\DisablePagingExecutive
  3. If you have lots on memory, set DisablePagingExecutive, a type REG_DWORD, to 1. This will allow drivers and the kernel code to be kept in memory. The default is 0 which pages drivers and kernel code when needed.
  4. More registry tips and tricks
    1. http://www.regedit.com/Performance/

If you're running Windows-NT and your CPU is pre-Pentium2, then the following speed up tip may help you. Please note that this DOES NOT speed up P2 or P3 machines. It only works for a direct mapped cache. Click http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q183/0/63.ASP for more details.

  1. run regedit (techies already know how)
  2. navigate down the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\SecondLevelDataCache
  3. you'll probably find the value 0. Change it to reflect the size of the L2 cache of your machine (watch out for the setting of the Hex/Decimal Radio Buttons)

Non-GUI (text) Client Speedup Tips for Windows 98/NT

General Info

Speedup

SETI@Home Speedup Tips for Solaris 2.5.1 (UNIX)

  1. un-TAR the client software as follows:
    tar -xvf setiathome-1.3.sparc-sun-solaris2.5.1.tar
  2. navigate into the just created SETI subdirectory
    cd setiathome-1.3.sparc-sun-solaris2.5.1
  3. make the SETI client software executable
    chmod +x setiathome
  4. run the task interactively to set up your account for the first time as follows (note: info in blue comes from your IS/IT department)
    1. if not behind a security firewall
      ./setathome
    2. if behind a security firewall (DNS support is a must)
      ./setiathome -proxy dns-name.domain:80 (80 means use TCP port reserved for "http:" )
      ~~~ or ~~~
      ./setiathome -proxy dns-name.domain:21 (21 means use TCP port reserved for "ftp:" )
      ~~~ or ~~~
      ./setiathome -proxy dns-name.domain:23 (23 means use TCP port reserved for "telnet:" )
  5. once the task appears to be working, you can make it go faster as follows:
    ./setiathome -proxy dns-name.domain:80 -email > /dev/null 2> /dev/null &
  6. if you've got super user privs and you're running the client on a hot maintenance spare unit with no other user processes to interfere with, then enter:
    nice --10 ./setiathome -proxy dns-name.domain:80 -email > /dev/null 2> /dev/null &
    Note: it is possible to use nice --19 but I've found that this may cause some communications problems when downloading a new work unit from the SETI@Home server site.
  7. you can monitor the process by entering the following:
    ps -lef | grep SETI
    if you don't know what the previous display means, you can see the column titles by typing:
    ps -l
  8. Why does running output into /dev/null speed things up?
    1. because it takes lots of system resources to support bit mapped graphics. Each character to be displayed needs to be converted from an 8 bit (or 16 bit extended) ASCII format into a a block of displayable bits. This is one of the reasons that most servers don't have graphics cards installed.
    2. because it takes some system resources to support scrolling windows (including the lines off the top of the screen)
    3. and all this overhead constantly dances through the cache which prevents our CPU from running at full speed at all times

What the above UNIX command above does:

nice --10                 drop the priority number by 10 points (lower means faster in UNIX)
./setiathome              run setiathome in the current directory
-proxy dns-name.domain:80 connect to setiathome site via a firewall using port 80
                          an example of dns-name.domain is proxy.uwaterloo.com
-email                    email user specified during initial startup if client has a problem
> /dev/null               redirect all output text to null device (means no output)
2> /dev/null              redirect all error messages to null device (means no output)
&                         run as a detached (background) process

note: if you leave out the ampersand (&) then you may as well leave out the error redirect

UNIX Scripts:

I you're constantly typing the same commands over and over you might wish to place the commands in one or two scripts.

  1. Create the script by typing "vi name" (you need to know how to use the "vi" editor)
  2. Make the scripts executable by typing "chmod +x name"
  3. Execute the The scripts are then executed by typing "./name"

UNIX Operating System Implementation Notes:

Multiple CPUs & Multiple Processes

SETI Toys

Click http://zap.to/jsetitracker to check out a neat JAVA front end for your SETI Client called SETI Tracker. This probably won't speed up your work unit returns but it will do neat things like plot your work unit locations on a celestial map of the sky. Many OSs are supported including Windows 95 and higher, MacOS, and Sun Solaris. This is a must for astronomy buffs etc.

Click http://www.cuug.ab.ca/~macdonal/tkseti/ to check out a neat Tcl/Tk based front end for your SETI Client called Tk-SETI@Home.

Click http://www.snafu.de/~tobias.w/seti/starmap.html to check out a SETI freeware program called Star Map.

Any idea what this is?SETI News

alt.sci.seti

SETI Links

Join our SPOT_E.T. SETI@home team

SETI @ Beyond IRC

The SETI Institute scientific and educational projects relevant to the nature, distribution, and prevalence of life in the universe.

The SERENDIP Project - ongoing scientific research effort aimed at detecting radio signals from extraterrestrial civilizations using the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico.

SETI and Distributed Computing - An essay on how the spare CPU cycles of idle machines belonging to Internet pioneers might play a role in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Planetary Society - co-founded by Carl Sagan to encourage the exploration of our solar system and the search for extraterrestrial life.

Click here to learn about "SETI@Home"SETI@home is a scientific experiment that harnesses the power of hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data. There's a small but captivating possibility that your computer will detect the faint murmur of a civilization beyond Earth.



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