key differences in the Grand Challenge Puzzles
A few of our players have pointed out the palpable difference in the game play that emerged in the new puzzles.
One of the main reasons for the different feel and different rate of progress for the new puzzles is that
they are often the best solutions found by the automatic methods -- meaning that the starting point is a fairly strong local minimum (slight changes invariably lead to worse scores or little difference).
We are trying to find out whether people know how to get out of these, and find a much better space of
solutions by making one or several key changes and then refining these until a
better solution is found. Often making the big key change may initially make the score a lot worse, even though the score would eventually be a lot higher after some refinement. So in many ways this is harder, and also one of the key reasons why computers cannot really do anything to improve the score.
Also, since the score initially is already very high (the best the computer can get), the final solution is not going to be significantly higher than the starting position. In the Grand Challenge puzzles 100 or even 20 points makes a huge difference, a difference between a really good prediction and the many flawed ones that massive distributed computing efforts generate.
Also, one possible reason why the solutions may seem to require a lot of small tweaks at some point is that you may have reached a global solution (the native protein) to the puzzle and any subsequent tweaks are simply not possible. At least we hope that is one of the reasons ;)
So keep all this in mind as you tackle the Grand Challenges. They are harder, and every 10 point difference can make a huge impact. You're at the bleeding edge of the current state-of-the-art in protein structure prediction.