Statistics Tutorial

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Introduction

This tutorial is meant to provide you with the basic information that you need to browse through the statistics server. It also aims to describe the various services that this server offers to distributed.net participants. The statistics server, also known as stats server, is located at http://stats.distributed.net/.

If you are a first-time user, please take the time to read the subsequent section that contains all the information you need to get started with the stats server. If you are still experiencing some difficulties after having thoroughly read the available documentation relative to the stats server, you can contact distributed.net tech support staff at help@distributed.net or email submission form.

First-time participant step-by-step walkthrough

Firstly, you should make sure that the email address you entered in your client configuration is a real email address where you can effectively receive your personal stats password and where distributed.net staff can contact you if you were to be the lucky winner of one of our projects that offers a prize.

The second step is for you to run the client and wait until it flushes work units back to the distributed.net proxy network. Anywhere from 0 to 24 hours after your client first flushes some work units back to us, our stats server will detect that you are a new participant and start publishing stats about your work as well as your ranking on its web site.

You should then lookup your personal statistics on the stats server in order to view your personal stats page. If you are participating in the RC5-72 contest, for example, click on the 'RC5-72' link from the http://stats.distributed.net/ page. You will be directed to the http://stats.distributed.net/projects.php?project_id=8 page at the top of which you can enter your email address in the search field of the 'Participant Stats' column.

If you enter your full email address or if the search based on your query only returns one result, you will be directly directed to your personal stats page. If you entered a more generic keyword in the participant stats query form, you will be directed to a page listing the first 50 results that match your query. From there, you can click on a participant's name and you will be directed to the corresponding personal stats page.

Your personal stats page for one of our projects contains statistics related to your contribution to a that particular project. If you participate in multiple distributed.net projects, you will have as many project-specific personal stats pages as number of projects you are contributing to. The stats web site is broken down into various sections for each of our projects. Each section can be accessed from the links in the table listing our different projects on the http://stats.distributed.net/ page.

Finally, you will need to request that your stats password be sent to you by email to the address that you specified in your email client configuration, which is also the one under which you appear in the stats server. To do this, you must be on your (or one of your) personal stats page(s) and click on the link at the very bottom of that page that reads: "I cannot remember my password. Please email [insert your email address here]'s password.". Once you click on that link, you should receive an email with your stats password shortly thereafter.

Note: Your stats password will not be automatically mailed to when you first flush work units back to our servers. You must necessarily follow the procedure described in the previous paragraph to request your password.

Looking up personal and team statistics

You can look up your personal statistics using the search field in the header of the pages corresponding to the project you are interested in. If you enter your full email address, you will automatically be redirected to your personal stats page for that project. If you enter a more general keyword in the search field, you will see the best matches (at most 50) for your query. You can then click on the link in any one of the resulting rows to access that user's personal stats.

The team lookup procedure is the same as the personal stats lookup. Enter the team name or team number in the search form located at the top of the stats pages and you will be redirected to that team's stats page. You can also enter part of the team name to generate a listing of teams with names containing the search string to choose from. Click on a team name in the list to view that team's stats page for a given project.

Customizing your stats page and user settings

Once you have received your stats password, you will be able to modify your user settings in the Participant Configuration page located at http://stats.distributed.net/participant/pedit.php.

In order to access this page, you will need to enter your username which is the email address that you specified in your client settings and under which you appear on the stats server. You will also be prompted for your password which you should have requested by email prior to this. If you do not have your password, refer to the previous section to learn how to retrieve it.

In the sequel, you are assumed to have made it to your restricted access participant configuration page. The following bullets account for the various possibilities offered from that page:

  • The Non-Profit setting enables you to vote for the non profit organization that will receive 60% of the prize of the projects undertaken by distributed.net. To make things more fair, you will not actually cast a single vote but rather each work unit you flush back to our servers will count as one vote towards the non profit organization of your choice.
  • The List Mode setting enables to change the identity under which you appear on the stats server. The default setting when you first show up on stats is to be listed under your email address. You may however prefer that your email address remain confidential. For that purpose, you can also appear in stats under your stats participant number or under the name of your choice which you can specify in a field called Real Name further down on your participant configuration page.
  • The Motto field can be updated with some text that will appear at the top of your personal stats page.
  • The Friend #_ fields are meant to contain the participant ID numbers of the friends that you would like to monitor on your personal stats page. Their stats will appear in a table entitled Friends located at the bottom of your personal stats page. Setting all participant ID numbers to 0 will remove that table from your personal stats page.
  • The Real Name and Phone Number fields should be filled out to make sure that we will be able to contact you in the lucky event that you win one of the distributed.net contests. The information that you enter in those two fields will remain completely confidential. Note however that if you decide to select List me using my real name in the List Mode menu near the top of your participant configuration page, the information that you type in the Real Name field will obviously publicly appear on your stats pages.
  • The subsequent fields are just meant for distributed.net to better understand who participates in its distributed computing projects and how we can best attract new participants.

Make sure that you click on the Update my Information button towards the bottom of the page to save your user settings. The changes that you made should be visible on your personal stats page shortly thereafter.

Retiring previously credited work units to a new stats account

A feature has been added to the stats server to enable you to "retire" the work units associated with an old email address of yours to a new address. This will enable you to gracefully migrate from one email address to another without losing all your previously flushed work units.

The "retire-to" feature can be invoked from your old email's participant configuration page (you will need the password associated with that old email address). On that page you must click on the retire link and follow further instructions.

Prior to that, you will need to:

  • configure your clients to use your new email address
  • wait for your new email address to appear in the stats database
  • know the password for the email you wish to retire

Joining a team

To join an exising team, you will need your stats password. To learn how to obtain your stats password, check out this section of the stats tutorial.

Once you have your stats password, you need to go to the stats page of the team you want to join. To join the team click on the "I want to join this team" link at the very bottom of the page. You will then be prompted for your email address and your stats password. Once you enter this information, you will be signed up under that team. Your subsequent work will be credited to that team from the next stats update on.

Creating a team

You can create a new team using the "Create a new Team" link at the top of the stats pages. This will guide you through the procedure of creating a new team.

Please note that new teams are not visible in the stats until at least one user has joined that team and that stats have updated. Thus, if you decide to create a team, you should make sure that you join the team you are creating as soon as you are given your team number during the team registration procedure. Otherwise, you will have created a team but won't know how to join it later on and it won't appear in the stats before you do so in the first place.

Other available stats queries

Stats other than personal or team stats are also available.

  • The Participating Countries link listed in the header of each of the project-specific stats pages enables users to check out how many participants there are from each country, as well as the span of countries covered by distributed.net.
  • The CPU/OS Distribution link listed in the header of each of the project-specific stats pages enables users to check out what types of machines and operating systems are contributing to distributed.net projects.