It's three years to the day since I subscribed to Seti@Home. I haven't found any aliens yet, but I have managed to churn through three thousand units ("more than 99.309 percent of our users" says the stats page, pleasingly) and, in the last month, pulled ahead for the first time of my dear chum Adrian Mars who started on the same day but got his entire family's computers onboard. Not that I'm one for gloating. It's not a competitive endeavour, and we're all in it for the science.
But any thoughts of personal aggrandisement are easily squelched. At the top of the list of people who signed up on the same day as myself is one Harry Yamaguchi who has sifted through 80,000 work units. Nipping at his heels is Alex Tessier with 78k -- what on earth are these people running out there? I'm under half the score of the top UK scorer -- the laconically named martin -- and I'm not even the top Rupert. And that's for just one day.
And that's nothing compared to the all-time monsters of munge. The top few places are a battleground between Sun, Intel and SGI, with the appropriately named Sun in a commanding lead as they near a million work units and a thousand CPU years. But, like the rest of us, they still haven't found the aliens. Which we won't anyway, even if they're out there, unless they happen to be in the right swathe of sky, transmitting in the right direction at the right time and on the right frequency.
It'd all be a bit disheartening, if I hadn't just inched ahead of Mars. As it is, it's more fun than cricket.