SETI@home, a Planetary Society and Cosmos Studios-sponsored search for
extraterrestrial intelligence, will gain its 3 millionth participant by
next week — just in time for its second birthday. They will celebrate by
awarding a prize to the three-millionth user to run the SETI@home program.

The largest distributed computing experiment ever undertaken, this
University of California, Berkeley project uses a computer program that
analyzes scientific data while acting as a screen-saver on personal computers.

“Three million users in such a short time testifies to both the public
interest in the search for extraterrestrial life and the desire for public
involvement in real science,” said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of
The Planetary Society.

SETI@home went on-line May 17, 1999 to wide acclaim and worldwide
attention. For the first time, ordinary citizens anywhere could actually
participate in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

SETI@home harnesses the spare computing power of nearly three million
Internet-connected personal computers around the world to crunch data from
the radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. To date, SETI@home
participants have collectively logged 650 millennia of computer time — by
far the largest computation ever performed.

“Soon there will be a billion computers on the Internet,” said David P.
Anderson, Director of SETI@home. “SETI@home has triggered an avalanche of
new ideas about how to harness this resource for scientific computing and
other purposes.”

The SETI@home team anticipates that the three millionth participant will
run the SETI@home software sometime next week. That person will be awarded
a lifetime membership in The Planetary Society, a DVD copy of Carl Sagan’s
series COSMOS from Cosmos Studios, and a stunning SETI poster autographed
by Anderson and by Dan Werthimer, SETI@home’s Chief Scientist.

SETI@home was conceived by computer scientist David Gedye, along with Craig
Kasnoff and astronomer Woody Sullivan. The project’s start-up funding came
from The Planetary Society, and Cosmos Studios has now joined with the
Society in continuing SETI@home sponsorship. Other sponsors include the
University of California; Sun Microsystems; Fujifilm Computer Products;
Quantum Corp.; and Paramount Pictures, which provided partial funding to
The Planetary Society for this project.

SETI@home was designed to tap into the enormous power of hundreds of
thousands of personal computers. Initial estimates for participation were
pegged at 200,000 to 300,000 people. Sign-ups proved to be 10 times that
number and are still rising, with an average of 2,000 new participants
joining each day. SETI@home users represent a wide cross-section of the
public and log in from 226 different countries.

So why do people all over the world join the SETI@home project?

“Seti@home is the great cosmic lottery,” said Ann Druyan, CEO of Cosmos
Studios. “It’s a chance for any one of us to find the answer to the
question at the heart of our dawning cosmic awareness. It turns each of us
into the potential discoverer of the first extraterrestrial civilization. A
global community, already three million strong, attests to the massive
appeal of such an opportunity.”

SETI@home is one of six projects in the Search for Extraterrestrial
Intelligence supported by The Planetary Society — the world’s largest
space interest group, and longest running funder of SETI projects on Earth.

To sign-up to help with the search, participants should go to one of the
following two web sites: The Society’s at or the
SETI@home site at


For more information about SETI@home, contact Susan Lendroth by telephone
at (626)793-5100 ext 237 or by e-mail at

Contact David Anderson at (510) 845-9854 or Dan Werthimer at (510) 642-6997.

For more information about Cosmos Studios, call (607) 256-0007.

Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman founded the Society in 1980 to
advance the exploration of the solar system and to continue the search for
extraterrestrial life. With 100,000 members in more than 140 countries, the
Society is the largest space interest group in the world.

Cosmos Studios creates science-based entertainment that seeks to thrill and
engage the broadest possible audience through the convergence of
television, cinema and the Internet. The company creates programming that
makes news, entertains, uplifts and inspires humankind’s quest for
knowledge, our understanding of cosmic evolution, and our place in its
great story. Cosmos Studios is based in Los Angeles, California and is
managed from Ithaca, New York. The website address is