Points system needs looked at

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Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:33 am

When I first started I got some decent points for WU's that took less than 24 hours. Now I am getting WU's that take any where from 24 to 48 hours with substantially less point rewards. I went from 25k to 50k per WU down to less than 10k for WU's that take a lot longer to complete. Something is just wrong about how they assign points to work units.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:45 am

I can relate. I'm just shy of a million points, and it looks like I might not make it today at all because my system is processing an x16 work unit with a preferred deadline of 6 days and zero bonus points for early completion. Making matters worse, my current a4 work unit has the CPUs running warm all night and day and it won't even finish until sometime tomorrow morning. While typing this post, I just now saw my CPU cores go to zero usage, then ramp up. It appears my a4 client died and got restarted. Could it be that my current a4 WU is bad and having trouble processing? Don't know.

The way I understand it, the x17 work units have a higher early completion reward because they will only run on more modern, faster, and more expensive graphic cards. I think of it as a reward for subjecting my $600 card to higher heat and greater risk for early failure. When we temporarily run out of x17 work units, then you simply get what's next in line; usually an x16. These work units are less efficient on your GPU, and they use more CPU too. I use Process Lasso and I can see that the CPU cores are running more work whenever I have an x16 WU. And yes, x16's seem to take forever to complete and to make matters worse, the early completion bonus is exactly or almost zero.

There's nothing we can do really, because there is no way to know what's next or when we'll see x17's again. You get whatever is next in line at the time your current GPU work unit reaches 99%. And you don't want to get into second guessing, trying to time your request for a new work unit, or worst of all cancelling work units or anything, because that slows down the progress for work units that are already less efficient anyhow and eventually, you'll get penalized for lost work units anyway.

I think the way it works is when we deliver work units to the Pande servers, they have to do some calculations in order to "create" and release back to us more work units, based on the results we sent them. The servers have to split the work up so that work units don't take six months for a modern PC to complete. I'd guess that this creates a huge batch of x17's to become available all at once, and the people folding simply get one of them, working our way through the queue of available work units. But eventually we run the queue dry and have to return all of the work before the servers can use our results to create a new batch. Just a guess of course, but this would explain the "dry patches" you and I have noticed where we'll go a day or so without any x17's.

Also, I've been wondering if maybe some point in the future, x17 bonuses will be decreased, as more and more people upgrade their folding rigs to have the necessary hardware. I don't know what the Pande lab's policy is on that, but my strategy is to try to gain a points advantage by quickly standing up another system with a couple of less-expensive HD 7970 graphic cards in them to get as much bonus as possible while it's still lucrative. Yes, I am competitive, so I'm thinking of bringing my old Q6600 back into service temporarily to see how well that quad core system will fold x17 units with a couple of $199 cheapie 7970s and nothing else on that system. If the CPU work units are too strenuous/not valuable, then I'll just let that system do GPU work instead. If this plan works well, then I will only have to spend money on the graphic cards and no money on a cpu, memory, hard drive, motherboard, or OS, and will be able to take more time to plan a newer, proper rig for exclusive folding.

Haha, so if I do that, you and I will be fighting each other even more than now for those golden x17 work units. :P

Sorry, I babbled too much. Just hang in there, I'll bet we see more x17's before the weekend.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:30 am

Khali, do you have a passkey configured in your client? Previous cores gave fixed points for completing the WU. The new Core_17 give less fixed points but also gives quick return bonus (QRB) points that should increase your points beyond the previous cores if you are running at least a GTX 460. However, you need a qualified passkey to get QRB.

The other significant possibility is that you are overclocking your video card too much. Core_17 really dislikes overclocking compared to earlier cores. It does not take many VRM resets (sets the GPU clock rate to 400MHz regardless of what it is supposed to be and it will not change till the next reboot of your machine) or bad WU's to really kill off your folding productivity. You need to check the logs to see if you are getting bad WU's and checking your video card clock rates to see if you are getting VRM's

If you really dislike Core_17 you can choose not run beta or advanced client types and then you will get the old cores, at least for now. Eventually, they will go general release and you won't have a choice but right now you can choose whether to run core_17 or not by simply changing the client type.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:08 am

Your "issue" is not new. All I can say is that you have been lucky to be getting the so-called "juicy" WUs so your ppd was good. WUs come in batches and there are bound to be ones that don't get you much points. Some people have the habit of ditching those and wait until assignment servers to give them better ones. IMO that is against the spirit of the science. Yes, points is one way to entice people to donate their computing cycles, but in the end, it should be about the science and the philanthropic aspect of the effort. And yes, summer is here and it does seem not worth the ROI.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:31 am

Flying Fox wrote:Your "issue" is not new. All I can say is that you have been lucky to be getting the so-called "juicy" WUs so your ppd was good. WUs come in batches and there are bound to be ones that don't get you much points. Some people have the habit of ditching those and wait until assignment servers to give them better ones. IMO that is against the spirit of the science. Yes, points is one way to entice people to donate their computing cycles, but in the end, it should be about the science and the philanthropic aspect of the effort. And yes, summer is here and it does seem not worth the ROI.


Right, this matches with my observations/understanding.

I think what Khali and I have been experiencing is the results of the batching. A good 4-5 day stretch with x17 cores, followed by a 1-2 day dry patch where we get x16s that just don't run fast or give a good bonus.

I don't ditch them because I agree that it's not right and besides, what if the guy who's using x16s to study "whatsisfratsisfriggis disease" could have saved my life or the life of a loved one someday but for all the people who ditched his x16 core work?

I won't be shortsighted just for some points, but at the same time, I think it's smart to build a machine that can get as many of them as possible, haha! :D
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:15 am

Keep in mind that the benchmarking for each WU (which is used to set the point values) is done on a specific hardware configuration, and the benchmark hardware configurations for new types of WUs may not be (and in some cases cannot be) the same as what was used in the past. Certain system architectures are better at crunching certain types of WUs, and bonus points further muddy the waters since they can vastly inflate the point values of WUs that a particular system is "good" at crunching.

Overall, I think they've done an OK job of setting the point values, given the diverse nature of the WUs and the systems people use to crunch them. It's a messy problem, and under the circumstances no points system is going to be perfect.

Sorry to speak only in generalities here, but I've turned my Folding systems off for the summer. When the weather cools down in the fall (probably October-ish) I will ramp up again and see what's what...
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Fri Jul 19, 2013 3:49 pm

Thanks, JBI. Yeah, I decided to run my folding rig unless/until the heat becomes unbearable in the home office. Then I'll set it to "idle" or something so that it only runs while I'm sleeping or not at home.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:43 am

Sorry for the delay in replying, lost my internet for about three days. Yet another hit to my point count.

My Video card is not overclocked at all so that isn't the issue. I have yet to see a x17, x15 is the best I have seen. Might be a issue with me just running a i5-3570k with a GTX 680. Yes I am using the passkey.

I don't know, maybe the way the do is fair but I have issues getting past a job taking a longer amount of time yet give less than half the reward.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:20 pm

With a 3 day internet outage, did you miss any return times or completely lose any work units? If you did, this can affect the type of work you receive. Maybe you're "on probation"...
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:34 pm

Folders, just leave it at beta for now until they have some issues fixed.
Or maybe I should say set it for beta in the config. Not advanced.

Work unit come and go. Stanford attempts to make it as fair as they can.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sun Jul 21, 2013 4:46 am

BIF wrote:With a 3 day internet outage, did you miss any return times or completely lose any work units? If you did, this can affect the type of work you receive. Maybe you're "on probation"...


I just don't know for sure. I had two jobs done and two ready to go when I discovered my internet was out. I looked at the logs right after the net came back up and I can not find where it shows uploading the jobs I had done but my points went up for the day so I am hoping they uploaded OK.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:13 am

Here is a excellent example of what I am talking about.

This job is running on my CPU. With 44% completed and a estimate of 2 hours and 8 minutes to go.

This project (p8702) is set for 197.00 points, a preferred deadline of 3.60 days, and a final deadline 7.90 days. This project uses the GRO-A4 FAH core software and is hosted by Folding@home server 171.67.108.35.



I have this one running on my GPU. With 7% completed and a estimate of 2 hours 51 minutes to go.

This project (p8074) is set for 3874.00 points, a preferred deadline of 10.43 days, and a final deadline 13.41 days. This project uses the OPENMMGPU FAH core software and is hosted by Folding@home server 171.67.108.36.


The first job is larger and will have significantly smaller reward. Something is just screwy here.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:34 am

Take the good with the bad. You are not the only one that whines about this in various forums. Ditch it if you really are after the points, though the science will suffer. :roll:

Of course, ditching enough of these you will be wasting valuable time as well.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:46 am

Khali wrote:Here is a excellent example of what I am talking about.

This job is running on my CPU. With 44% completed and a estimate of 2 hours and 8 minutes to go.
This project (p8702) is set for 197.00 points, a preferred deadline of 3.60 days, and a final deadline 7.90 days. This project uses the GRO-A4 FAH core software and is hosted by Folding@home server 171.67.108.35.

I have this one running on my GPU. With 7% completed and a estimate of 2 hours 51 minutes to go.
This project (p8074) is set for 3874.00 points, a preferred deadline of 10.43 days, and a final deadline 13.41 days. This project uses the OPENMMGPU FAH core software and is hosted by Folding@home server 171.67.108.36.

The first job is larger and will have significantly smaller reward. Something is just screwy here.

Have you made any attempt to determine what you're getting in terms of bonus points?

Also keep in mind that you're running a high-end GPU and a mid-range CPU, so you're comparing apples and oranges.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:53 am

just brew it! wrote:Also keep in mind that you're running a high-end GPU and a mid-range CPU, so you're comparing apples and oranges.

Good catch. Only bigadv (in the past it was -smp 7/8) will make CPU folding match/exceed the PPD output of GPU. There has always been a bias towards using the GPU. However, GPU folding usually requires more power (we are dealing with 150-250W power consumption vs CPUs generally under 100W), and anecdotal reports do suggest running the GPU that hot most of the time may shorten the lifetime of the video card.
Last edited by Flying Fox on Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:54 am

Flying Fox wrote:Take the good with the bad. You are not the only one that whines about this in various forums. Ditch it if you really are after the points, though the science will suffer. :roll:

Of course, ditching enough of these you will be wasting valuable time as well.


I am just trying to understand the logic used on what a wu is worth. What I am seeing just does not make sense to me. I have no intention to stop folding and I have never ditched a wu on purpose and don't plan to start. In the end the points do not mean a thing as long as the program actually leads to some cures or better treatment of the various diseases they are studying.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:03 am

Khali wrote:I am just trying to understand the logic used on what a wu is worth. What I am seeing just does not make sense to me. I have no intention to stop folding and I have never ditched a wu on purpose and don't plan to start. In the end the points do not mean a thing as long as the program actually leads to some cures or better treatment of the various diseases they are studying.

As I noted previously, they use a benchmark hardware configuration to set a baseline point value based on how long it takes the benchmark system to complete the WU. If your hardware is a lot faster/slower than the benchmark hardware, you will see relatively higher/lower points production, sometimes by a quite substantial amount.

There isn't really a good way around this; otherwise they would be artificially "rewarding" people with slower hardware (i.e. handing out more points relative to the amount of work done). In fact, they tend to do exactly the opposite (with the bonus points mechanism) -- faster systems earn disproportionately more points. This is intentional, since it encourages people to use faster systems, thereby improving the turnaround time for them to get results.

You can't think of WU size (point value) in terms of time spent. It is more closely correlated with the amount of work actually done, with (in some cases) an additional bonus for completing the WU faster than the benchmark system, and/or for taking on WUs which are very resource-intensive.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:10 am

JBI got me thinking, so I dug up the points calculator (this one does not have your WU :().

Khali wrote:This job is running on my CPU. With 44% completed and a estimate of 2 hours and 8 minutes to go.

This project (p8702) is set for 197.00 points, a preferred deadline of 3.60 days, and a final deadline 7.90 days. This project uses the GRO-A4 FAH core software and is hosted by Folding@home server 171.67.108.35.

128mins for 56% (of course you may be at 55.1% remaining, but we do not need to be super accurate here), ~2m20s per %: total points with bonus = 1191.25, ppd = 7351.72. I would say decent (coming from someone who has been folding for a while, you new kids on the block are so spoiled :P). Seems like the A4 CPU cores do have some chokers. I am still on the v6 client running Gromacs, my numbers are: ~6m30s per % (mine will take longer to finish), total points with bonus = 4942.79, ppd = 10950.17.

Khali wrote:I have this one running on my GPU. With 7% completed and a estimate of 2 hours 51 minutes to go.

This project (p8074) is set for 3874.00 points, a preferred deadline of 10.43 days, and a final deadline 13.41 days. This project uses the OPENMMGPU FAH core software and is hosted by Folding@home server 171.67.108.36.

I can't find a calculator for this WU, do you have the ppd projection from your client for this? Is it like 100K ppd?

Edit: fixed quotes
Last edited by Flying Fox on Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:14 am

I can't find a calculator for this WU, do you have the ppd projection from your client for this? Is it like 100K ppd?


The estimated PPD is 30708.

Glad you asked me that. Made me take a closer look at the client. Here is what the client has to say about each job.

CPU wu, Base Credit 197, Estimated Credit 1214, PPD 7698.

GPU wu, Base Credit 3874, Estimated Credit 3784, PPD 30708
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:33 am

At this point it appears to complex for me to totally understand. There are so many variables to take into account, different cpu's and gpu's, overclocking, and such that it has to be the way it is. My question was more of curiosity than a rant about the point system as is. At this point I am ready to just call it magic and go with the flow. :D
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Re: Points system needs looked at

Postposted on Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:44 am

Khali wrote:CPU wu, Base Credit 197, Estimated Credit 1214, PPD 7698.
GPU wu, Base Credit 3874, Estimated Credit 3784, PPD 30708
That's why I still prefer the Gromacs WUs for my i7-875K. A lot of A4 WUs choked on it IIRC.

Khali wrote:At this point it appears to complex for me to totally understand. There are so many variables to take into account, different cpu's and gpu's, overclocking, and such that it has to be the way it is. My question was more of curiosity than a rant about the point system as is. At this point I am ready to just call it magic and go with the flow. :D
Don't worry. Been there, done that. :P There exists some projects that don't make sense though. You just need to hope that it is done and then you will get better luck receiving a juicier WU next time. ;)

Or, you can build a bigadv monster and get those mythical 100K+ ppd nodes going. :o
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