Changes to the stats system

By , the in Folding@Home Project - No comment
Recently the Folding@home project has decided to make some changes to the way passkeys are handled in ordering the contributions of donors on the website, and in the flat text files used by third party stats sites.

Passkeys are a relatively new part of Folding@home, as they were introduced with the v6 clients in 2007. They are used to tie contributions to an individual user, providing an extra level of identification beyond a simple username. The intention was to prevent people from cheating using your username.

In order to ensure that the flat files match the website, changes were necessary to both. The issue is how to handle passkeys: the website stats currently ignore passkeys in order to speed up to the SQL count(*) command, while the flat files aggregate all passkey accounts into one donorname then orders by the aggregate points for that donorname.

The proposal is to change the system to make each username+passkey combination count as a unique user in the stats system, on both the website and the flat files. This is the only method that meets the two goals of consistency between the website and the flat files, and keeping the speediness of the stats system. As revealing the entire passkey would rather miss the point of having a passkey at all, only the last two characters of the passkey will be published to permit differentiation between passkeys.

The flat files will transition to the new format soon if they have not already, while a target date of May 1st has been set for the switchover on the web stats.

Source: Vijay's blog