Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Steal a few cycles from your ECU; find aliens.
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(+1, -5)
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Have your car's Engine Control Unit give up a few cycles when it's less busy to crunch some numbers for the SETI project or help find a cure for cancer.

When you take in your car to be serviced, you could download more data to be crunched and upload your previous results.

monojohnny, Aug 04 2006

SETI@HOME http://en.wikipedia...ki/SETI#SETI.40home
Description of the SETI@HOME project [monojohnny, Aug 04 2006]

Engine Management Systems http://en.wikipedia...e_management_system
[monojohnny, Aug 04 2006]


       I'm not quite sure this is how an ECU works...
david_scothern, Aug 04 2006

       You'd have to flash additional programs onto the ECU of course.   

       Should be able to handle it; its a microprocessor at heart...
monojohnny, Aug 04 2006

       The cost of setting up an infrastructure for this is far greater than the cost of running a few number crunchers in a computer farm. Microcontrollers just aren't built for this application.
Aq_Bi, Aug 04 2006

       True enough, but hardly a concern for the research team here at the 'bakery.   

       With a lot of WiFi and enough autos running your program, you wouldn't need a home computer, just live next to the freeway.   

       "Honey, thats a video link, I won't be able to run it until rush hour starts."
normzone, Aug 05 2006

       ok maybe an incentive to the car-makers here; in order for them to make room for additional memory and program space...   

       Instead of (as well as?) running the SETI program; pick another mathematical problem which lends itself to grid computing...perhaps airflow modelling or economic modelling....something useful to the car manufacturer themselves...   

       Then we run into privacy issues I guess....
monojohnny, Aug 05 2006

       i doubt the processing power of a current car's computers is anywhere near a pentium 1 pc
vmaldia, Aug 05 2006

       SETI@home is perhaps the biggest hoax perpetrated on the general public.   

       Thousands of PCs providing free computing to discover what? A signal that there is life on other worlds? Quite what will we do with that information? It's not like we can go visit them any time soon.   

       There are so many more deserving problems that this effort could go into.   

       (Yeah, yeah, I'm a sci fi buff, and I really do think there is life on other planets, but we have some rather more pressing problems on our hands than talking to the stars.)
DrCurry, Aug 05 2006

       [DrCurry] - I see your point. There are similar projects (cure for cancer etc) than use the same methods as the SETI@Home project; which people could opt for rather than the SETI program.
monojohnny, Aug 07 2006

       //i doubt the processing power of a current car's computers is anywhere near a pentium 1 pc//   

       True. But I don't suppose that matters. For instance - plenty of the computers on spacecraft work on lower-specs than pentiums.
monojohnny, Aug 07 2006

       //more pressing problems on our hands than talking to the stars.//
Can't argue with that - but I wouldn't go as far to say that the whole project is a scam - in of itself, it's a great achievement in distributed computing, and if nothing else has both tested and proven these techniques are workable out in the field.

       As an elbow dipped in the bath water of distributed analysis, I'm glad they started out on the SETI problem. It's the right type of problem (LOTS of mundane data to be ploughed through) and more importantly than finding (or not finding) life, it has proven the technology, and made it accessible to other, more imperative uses.
zen_tom, Aug 07 2006

       Actually, vehicle computers are quite fast and run millions of lines of code these days to deal with emissions, handle lookup tables for the fuel you put in, etc.
RayfordSteele, May 25 2010


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