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AI Challenge Forums • View topic - adding up costs

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adding up costs

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adding up costs

Postby brak2718 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:50 pm

One of the best aspects of ants that make it a good challenge is that the games are really chaotic -- it's really hard to predict who will win a game from just looking at any intermediate state. Sometimes mediocre players will win against the top ranked ones. This presents a big problem while developing your code: when you make some incremental change, how many games to play before you know your code is better? The answer is usually LOTS.

I was using EC2 cloud instances for genetic algorithm runs, so I got thinking about the costs of cpu cycles all around this planet consumed just this challenge. Here are a few back-of-a-napkin estimates. What do you think?

On a single Amazon "extra large hi-cpu" instance, I was averaging around 100 games/hour hovering around 90% cpu usage. That works out to about USD 1/2 cent per game. (Average ~ 5 players per game, each player burns average 250ms cpu per turn, average 500 turns/game). Average few hundred ants spawned per game, that works out to about $0.00002 per ant!

I don't know how fairly Amazon is pricing CPU cycles, but when using your own computers you've got to add up a lot of hidden costs. But these are just estimates so bear with me.

Game simultations played since contest start: a few million (adding up replays on contest servers plus tcp servers, plus wild guesses on contestants' local development runs). So about USD $15000 in cpu cycles spent so far. That's less than I would guess.

Few other estimates:

Sum value of engineering hours blown on this project?

Tuition costs of classes you now have to retake?

Costs of flowers/etc to mitigate the stress this contest caused at home?

Ryan
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Re: adding up costs

Postby romans01 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:28 pm

I got some very good ideas from this project and I think it will pay out shortly. :)
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Re: adding up costs

Postby Parasprites » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:33 pm

Why would anyone have to retake a class?
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Re: adding up costs

Postby Scryer » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:42 pm

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Re: adding up costs

Postby franperuzzi » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:52 pm

I think the flowers are the biggest cost for me.
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