SETI cracks down on cheating alien-hunters

SETI cracks down on cheating alien-hunters

Summary: Be warned - SETI@home members caught cheating will be withdrawn from the alien-hunting competition and have their accounts deleted on the spot

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Administrators of the alien-hunting distributed computing experiment SETI@home have announced they will crack down on members accused of cheating.

SETI@home director David Anderson announced SETI@home would do its best to investigate users returning suspiciously high amounts of work and delete their accounts if it uncovered solid evidence of cheating.

The announcement comes after more than 800 of the project's keenest contributors signed a petition demanding that SETI@home administrators act to clamp down on cheats looking to win the competition for most work units returned (see www.silicon.com/a56180 for more).

The petition was organised last week after veteran "cruncher" and cheat-hunter, Max Nealon, exposed a massive increase in the amount of illegitimate work units being returned to SETI@home.

Nealon said he approached the media because he believed that cheating was dominating the work returned by the project's top contributory sources, leading to a vast overstatement of the project's power.

"When talking to sponsors about their four million users - 200,000 active, 4,000 producing more than 90 percent of the work - they are over-stating their power," said Nealon.


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