Huge WU

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Huge WU

Postby Fully_Loaded » Tue May 11, 2010 4:24 am

Again, my post will show my "noob"nes but I have a question. My MAC put out a unit worth 7000-8000 points today and I don't know what I did to get that big of a unit. I want my CPU putting out the harder units and it did. But now it is doing a really small unit. How do I tell "INCREASE" to do these big units all the time?

Sorry for my lack of knowledge.
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Re: Huge WU

Postby radekboktor » Tue May 11, 2010 6:36 am

The tl:dr answer is that the units you get are decided by Stanford, not Increase. So sometimes you'll get more valuable units than other times, because you got whatever the servers wanted to give you.

If you want to eradicate some of that noobness, read on...

First off, there are currently two different primary versions of F@H for Macs. If you have an old PPC machine, you want 6.24. If you have a multicore Intel machine, you probably want 6.29. The difference is that 6.29 allows for the new units with bonuses, which is what Stanford wants running on multicore machines. 6.24 will run on new machines, but only let you run the older multicore units, which are being phased out. Now in your case I'm 99% certain you have 6.29, because only the units with bonuses can give you that many points per unit. But if you wanna check, open up the FAHlog (in Increase, just double-click on the unit). At the top it'll show you the Client Version.

Right now there are three different kinds of units being sent out to multicore machines. The old ones have no bonus and are being phased out. The standard kind have base point values between around 350-500, plus bonuses based on speed... if you've got a spiffy fast new machine, almost all your points will be bonus. The big units have base point values around 25,000 with much smaller bonuses. Well technically the bonus multiplier is just as big, but the deadlines are relatively much harsher so less points come from the bonus. These big units generally give higher points per day, but you have to specifically request them. Lemme show you some numbers from the Queue dump button (don't forget to "Download qd updates" occasionally, so the numbers on your machine will work).

This is a standard unit, run on my kind of old 8-core MacPro:
Index 9: finished 467.00 pts (67.619 pt/hr, 1622.65 ppd) 20.9 X min speed
bonus pts: 3015.51 (436.574 pt/hr, 10477.78 ppd); bonus factor: 6.46; kfactor: 2.00

This is a big unit, run on the same machine and under basically the same conditions:
Index 8: finished 25403.00 pts (349.173 pt/hr, 8378.29 ppd) 1.98 X min speed
bonus pts: 50537.16 (694.497 pt/hr, 16667.92 ppd); bonus factor: 1.99; kfactor: 2.00

The first major point: The "min speed" for the standard unit is over ten times as forgiving as the min speed for the big unit.
Now the standard unit took seven hours, and the big unit seventy-three, this is why the important # is ppd.
Second major point: PPD for big units will be better than PPD for standard units unless you're just barely making deadlines on the big units. Stanford values machines that can handle these really big units.
Third major point: I got these two units back to back without stop/starting anything. Because I have big units requested, I get them when they're available, but otherwise it sends me a standard unit.

So, you can *request* big units, but you can't guarantee them. Likewise, if you are not set for big units, and there are no standard units available, Stanford may send you one of those old-style units (no bonus) that they're gradually phasing out. Now I'm looking at your post and thinking that 7000+ points means you got a standard unit, and completed it much faster than I am (I only get about 3K bonus points per standard unit). What this means is you should probably request the big units, as your machine has the mojo. To be sure, check your Queue to see what number is before "X Min speed". I'd recommend at least 20 for a standard unit, although if you're regularly seeing 7K+ bonus points it should be well above 20. Assuming that's true, let's get you some big units!

The way to do this is to change that flags that are used to launch folding. To do this you need to stop folding, do the changes, and restart. Sometimes this screws things up, so you should do this either when a new unit has just started, or use the -oneunit flag to make Increase automatically stop after the current unit is finished. I'll run you through the second method, since it's the easiest way to learn about flags...
1. Hit Stop in Increase, wait for the Local Status line to say Stopped.
2. Click on Preferences then Launch. You'll see a list of flags with checkboxes, along with a field to add extra args (a flag is basically an arg that can only be on or off. Which technically means verbosity isn't a flag, heh. Moving right along...).
3. Click on the box labeled "oneunit"... don't change anything else.
4. Close the Preferences window. Your changes don't save until you do this, a fact that confused me for a while.
5. Hit Start, pretty soon the Local Status should say Running.
6. Come back when the unit is done, it will upload and stop running. Queue is helpful here too, as the fifth or sixth line tells you when the unit is expected to complete. Hooray for the Queue dump!

So now you've got a machine that isn't folding. Time to get your big units going.
1. Open Preferences/Launch again.
2. If "advmethods" is checked, uncheck it! Advmethods currently forces you to pick up standard units.
3. Inside the field named "extra args", type in -bigadv and hit return
4. Close Preferences, and hit Start.

To make sure this worked, go back to the Queue dump. Down several lines should be one of these lines:
client type: 3 Advmethods
client type: 7 BigAdv
Your older units should say 3 Advmethods, the new unit you just started should say 7 BigAdv. This will be true whether you are running a standard unit or a big one... with client type 7 you'll be given big units when available.

There you go, noobness solved. Now sit back and watch the points roll in!
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Re: Huge WU

Postby susato » Tue May 11, 2010 6:44 am

Fully, you can see which unit gave the high points by hitting the "queue" button in your InCrease window.

The high value unit may be a p6041 -- it may be your first bonused unit on the machine -- or it may be both. (You did get a passkey, didn't you?) Just today there was an error in the assignment server which gave low-point, single-core work units to some multi-core machines.. If that happened to you, just wait for the unit to finish and you will get a higher-valued multi-core one next.

You asked how you could get the high-point units all the time. The best way is to fold with a passkey which lets you earn bonuses on work unit points. The biggest work units require you to configure your client to request "big" WU - but I think you've already done that. You can try adding the -advmethods flag in InCrease preferences. New work units come out all the time and the general evolutionary trend is a slow movement toward higher and higher points. The -advmethods flag gets you the newer work units faster (though they do have a slightly higher incidence of failure).

I should also mention an unethical way of getting higher points. Not that you would do this -- you seem to be an honest soul, and moreover the techniques are more complicated than most self-identified folding "noobs" would want to try. I mention it just as a warning to any who might be tempted. Some F@H participants have been known to "cherry pick" only high-yielding work units and discard the rest. This results in higher points for the cherry picker, but it defeats the purpose of the project which is to produce valid scientific results efficiently and to make quick progress toward a better understanding of protein folding in cancer and other diseases. Cherry-picking units delays the project, wastes work units that other people could be folding, and can lead to across-the-board work unit shortages. Dr. Pande has a note about it in his latest blog (click the "news" link on the forum header)

Your best bet for getting high points is just to keep folding. :) And post here and at your team's forum to get the congratulations you deserve for earning all those points. :)
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Re: Huge WU

Postby Fully_Loaded » Thu May 13, 2010 2:02 pm

Thanks - should any other things be checked - it has advmethods, forceasm, verbosity 9
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Re: Huge WU

Postby radekboktor » Sun May 16, 2010 6:14 am

You might want to put in -smp just to be safe, although it probably doesn't matter. And I think you can remove forceasm, my understanding is that that flag is no longer meaningful. I'm running with
Arguments: -local -verbosity 9 -smp -bigadv
but if you don't want the really big units with really harsh deadlines, replace -bigadv with -advmethods
Oh, and the -local I think is necessary because of Increase, but you probably already have that automatically. Check yer log to be certain.
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Re: Huge WU

Postby Ravage7779 » Sun May 16, 2010 3:58 pm

-local is necessary for increase, otherwise fah will start up in its own folder structure that it will create and increase will tell you that it can't touch it.

-smp is irrelevant on a mac. Folding on a mac is smp only, there is no uniprocessor client.

If you are running the 6.29 client, -advmethods is irrelevant. You will get the same a3 units either way.

-forceasm is also irrelevant.

So in short you need to run -local -verbosity 9 for your flags.
Get more Mac OS X folding help from the friendly experts @ http://www.foldingathome.org/index.html
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Re: Huge WU

Postby AlanH » Sun May 16, 2010 8:21 pm

That must have changed very recently then.

After I installed the latest Preference Panel version I was getting A1 units only. I had to learn where to add the option flags in order to get it to receive A3 units. I now have -advmethods -verbosity 9 -smp.

I don't run increase, so I don't need -local, and my four cores are not sufficient to use -bigadv.
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Re: Huge WU

Postby Ravage7779 » Sun May 16, 2010 8:33 pm

They have changed the server assignment logic. I haven't run -advmethods in some time now, and get nothing but a3's. Lucky me I have been lazy in updating to 10.6. So I can fold at least.
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Re: Huge WU

Postby codysluder » Sun May 16, 2010 10:43 pm

Ravage7779 wrote:If you are running the 6.29 client, -advmethods is irrelevant. You will get the same a3 units either way.


This is always subject to change, so calling it irrelevant isn't very accurate. New projects start requiring -advmethods and generally mature to the point that the flag is no longer required. That has happened with the current projects for A3 so at the moment, the flag is irrelevant. New projects will continue to be developed and when they're read, the flag will again become relevant, even if it's only to choose between new and more mature projects.
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Re: Huge WU

Postby Ravage7779 » Mon May 17, 2010 9:18 pm

You would be correct. -advmethods is currently irrelevant.
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