Idea: a new mode, for the good of science
|Opened by:||Vincenzo Brancaccio|
|Opened on:||Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 00:17|
|Last modified:||Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 20:44|
What a folder does is finding the most stable conformation of a protein, by avoiding a forest of "local energy minimums", armed with algorithms, experience, and possibly a bit of luck. Let's call it a sort of "brain-assisted brute force" approach.
We know that there are already some teams which, as far as I know, can share protein structures and travel together towards the "global energy minimum" from the best minimum they could find, which might or might not be an advantage: maybe further exploration from that minimum could be uneffective, or it could lead to better structures.
I will split the idea in two parts: the "scientific" part and the "gaming" part:
1. The scientific part
As the times left for a puzzle narrows, new users are always given the same starting structure. The idea is perfect if want to give easily an equal score to the users, but it is not very efficient, if you consider that the chances to get a good structure are poor for people beginning the puzzle some time later.
Picture yourself a tree graph. The highest dot is the highest structural energy (the usual beginning structure). The energy decreases going down, and any point is an energetic minimum (best structure form the users). Any point is connected to the dot it comes from: if you ignore "single-user evolutions", any point is connected to the structure it comes from. Any structure derived from the first structure is directly connected to it, any structure derived from a shared structure is directly connected to it.
As the time proceeds, new users could be given the choice of starting from the "usual" basic structure, or to be assigned a random structure so that:
-the assigned structure IS a parent (or parent of a parent) structure of one of the current best structures
-the set of assigned structures is NOT son of the same parent structure
-the assigned structures are energetically similar (energy of choice decreases as the global game and structures proceed)
2.The gaming part
Since players would probably like to be given the deserved contribution, some points could be assigned by considering the generational contributions of any user who contributed to the formation of a "branch" in the tree graph. If user A gets in one day the highest score by using a structure obtained by user B in three days, with a score progress of 20% compared to user B, then he is assigned 20% of the points, while user B is assigned the 80%.
Also, a user "stuck" in a bad structure, might be given the one-time option to randomly switch to one of the random assigned structures. Or maybe the option could be re-activated anytime the user reaches some target score.
What advantages do I see in the idea?
1-Better employment of "computational time": any user, joining the game anytime, could give important contributions towards the best structure, which almost certainly couldn't be possible with the same beginning structure for anyone
2-Possibility to discard bad structures, and to focus on "new bests" for anyone, even if not in a team.
3-Being assigned structures from different families, exploration is directed towards different minimums. This already happens when the beginning structure is the same for everybody, but the proposed system might be much more efficient.