What type of scheduling?

Debates and discussions on the various race scheduling methods that can be used and their fairness and accuracy in determining the winners.
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FatSebastian
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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by FatSebastian » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:12 pm

gpraceman wrote:Every scheduling method has its set of cons as well, of course, and dynamic scheduling is no different.
These are seemingly documented by GPRM here, and appears to be a very interesting method of scheduling!



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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by Stan Pope » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:20 am

gpraceman wrote:
If win rate is the primary concern, then running a dynamic schedule you can get well over 90%. With dynamic racing, heat match ups are based on the performance of the car's previous runs.
I watched one of those races a few years ago. It was "unfulfilling" because of the heavy "repeat matchups" at both ends of the performance spectrum.

I would not place "win rate" as a primary concern, however. It is more like a "consideration" when trying to decide between methods when one doesn't seem to have a clear advantage on the primary criteria.


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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by gpraceman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:14 am

Stan Pope wrote:
gpraceman wrote:
If win rate is the primary concern, then running a dynamic schedule you can get well over 90%. With dynamic racing, heat match ups are based on the performance of the car's previous runs.
I watched one of those races a few years ago. It was "unfulfilling" because of the heavy "repeat matchups" at both ends of the performance spectrum.
GPRM has had dynamic scheduling for two years, so that was likely a bit different of an implementation, one based on average time. I chose to focus more on maximizing win rate, so I ended up using a combination of win count and total points for determining match ups. This does help reduce the repeat match ups a bit, but opponent count is definitely well less than Perfect-N type scheduling.
Stan Pope wrote:I would not place "win rate" as a primary concern, however. It is more like a "consideration" when trying to decide between methods when one doesn't seem to have a clear advantage on the primary criteria.
I fully agree. I recommend Perfect-N type and Phase Shifted Lane Rotation schedules over dynamic scheduling. They do have better opponent counts and are faster to run (not building schedule on the fly) but dynamic scheduling has its fans.


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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by FatSebastian » Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:49 am

gpraceman wrote:GPRM has had dynamic scheduling for two years, so that was likely a bit different of an implementation, one based on average time. I chose to focus more on maximizing win rate, so I ended up using a combination of win count and total points for determining match ups.
gpraceman, out of curiosity, what is the algorithm that is now used? (If it is too complicated to explain here, or cannot be disclosed because it is considered proprietary, I understand.)



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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by gpraceman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:18 am

FatSebastian wrote:gpraceman, out of curiosity, what is the algorithm that is now used? (If it is too complicated to explain here, or cannot be disclosed because it is considered proprietary, I understand.)
Well, I've got to keep some things close to the vest, but the basic details are listed in the General section of GPRM's Dynamic Scheduling page. There is a lot more to it, of course, like trying to balance lane equity through it all.


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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by *5 J's* » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:35 am

I would not place "win rate" as a primary concern, however. It is more like a "consideration" when trying to decide between methods when one doesn't seem to have a clear advantage on the primary criteria.
:nod: Correct. Win rate is not of primary concern, but should be a consideration when choosing a scheduling method.

Also, consider I was pointing out a pro to a two lane track.

I now competely understand what Stan meant one page one of this thread "Yes! We can't even agree on what "fair" means! ".

I guess I still not convinced what is the "best" scheduling method. I can get through some of the tangible pro's and con's - fairness, time to complete, equal number of runs, racing each lane, high number of opponents, etc.

However, I have sat through a PPN scheduled race where the scouts lost interest and focus as they never new how well they were doing. So three hours of racing and a scout had not idea if he was at the front/middle/back of the competition. I think over all else - this was a HUGE con og "Final-Standing Methods". At least in a elimination method the scout sees himself "whittling down the competition".

I am in a position to choose a new track with any number of lanes as well as choose the scheduling method - but cannot see a clear choice with either. By the way we own GPRM but it is used to capture the times (don't know why it was purchased if that is all the pack was going to use it for. This was before my time).



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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by gpraceman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:57 am

*5 J's* wrote:However, I have sat through a PPN scheduled race where the scouts lost interest and focus as they never new how well they were doing. So three hours of racing and a scout had not idea if he was at the front/middle/back of the competition.
Three hours sounds exorbitantly long, unless there is a very large number of racers or you have a pretty slow time between heats. Maybe that was on a two lane track? Say you wanted to run each car a total of 4 times, it would take twice as many heats to do that on a 2 lane track as opposed to a 4 lane track. So, running that race would be quite faster on a 4 lane track.
*5 J's* wrote:I think over all else - this was a HUGE con og "Final-Standing Methods". At least in a elimination method the scout sees himself "whittling down the competition".
Well, you can have the best of both worlds. Run a non-elimination schedule in a two round format. The first round gives everyone an equal chance to race. Then advance the top racers to the "trophy round". There is still a bit of elimination, but within each round everyone is racing an equal number of times (and on each lane, so no "I got the bad lane" complaints).

The more eliminations that you have, like with DE, the more racers will lose interest before racing is complete.


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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by *5 J's* » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:07 am

Three hours sounds exorbitantly long, unless there is a very large number of racers or you have a pretty slow time between heats. Maybe that was on a two lane track? Say you wanted to run each car a total of 4 times, it would take twice as many heats to do that on a 2 lane track as opposed to a 4 lane track. So, running that race would be quite faster on a 4 lane track.
That was at the District race - approximately 80 cars - 4 lanes - I was a year ago - but I believe it was 3 hours.
Well, you can have the best of both worlds. Run a non-elimination schedule in a two round format. The first round gives everyone an equal chance to race. Then advance the top racers to the "trophy round". There is still a bit of elimination, but within each round everyone is racing an equal number of times (and on each lane, so no "I got the bad lane" complaints).
Well actually we do. We start with a "Preliminary" round where the cars a paired up by the order they registered. After each run the cars change lanes and run again (two lane track). So at the end of the "Preliminary" round each car has run twice (and a minimum of 50% of the entrants have won). Next the cars run a "Time Trial" round where the fastest two cars run against each other, then 3rd against 4th, etc.. Again after a run the cars switch lanes and race again. (The audience is not aware that the cars are being paired up by speed). At this point all cars had run four times - the first two times totally random - the second they were paired up more evenly giving lower cars a chance to win at least one race. I would suspect that at least 75% of the cars have won a race at this point.

Now the top sixteen cars are announced by average time in the four runs and they run in a single elimination round. These sixteen are bracketed (1 & 9, 2 & 10, 3 & 11, 4 & 12, 5 & 13, 6 & 14, 7 & 15, 8 & 16). These cars run against each other twice (once in each lane), and one car would be eliminated - one would go on to the next round. 16 cars would go to 8, then to 4, then to 2, where the winner is identified. Granted this method can only clearly identify the winner - but it has the perception of fairness and kept all the kids excited until the end. The kids were high fiving their fellow scouts each time as they came down to watch their cars race after staging - all the way through the final race. It was really a great year and the scouts thoroughly enjoyed the event.

Now - I recognize there are some con's to the method we use but there are also many pro's. Most important to me is the scouts had a GREAT time - and part of this is because 75% or greater at least won a race. We also award 14 trophies (1-5 fastest, Scout's Choice, and 1st and 2nd in four design categories). This correlates to 40% of the racers getting a trophy. In addition to this - EVERY scout was awarded a participation trophy (and patch). The participation trophies are the car stand type.

I am open to listening to reasons why we need a track with more than two lanes as well as reasons why a scheduling method is "better", but the first thing for me to evaluate is - will the kids have fun. To me I think producing a high number of winners and utilizing a method that keeps the scouts in tune with who is doing well is key to the scouts having fun.



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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by Darin McGrew » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:27 am

*5 J's* wrote:That was at the District race - approximately 80 cars - 4 lanes - I was a year ago - but I believe it was 3 hours.
Actually, that sounds about right for about 80 cars, with 4 lanes, with each car racing twice in each lane. That's about what our derbies look like, except that we break the 3 hours up: 1 hour racing the younger kids, 1 hour potluck, 1 hour racing the older kids, and 1 hour racing the All Comers. We don't have problems with kids losing interest, but each session is only an hour.

Presenting speed awards for the 5 fastest cars, I wouldn't use anything less than quintuple elimination for the final round. A variant on that might be to order the cars based on their times, and then run "confirming" races: cars 5 & 6 race, and the winner races car 4, and the winner of that races car 3, and so on.



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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by *5 J's* » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:54 am

Presenting speed awards for the 5 fastest cars, I wouldn't use anything less than quintuple elimination for the final round. A variant on that might be to order the cars based on their times, and then run "confirming" races: cars 5 & 6 race, and the winner races car 4, and the winner of that races car 3, and so on.
I understand the reason - but I will point out that the last two years (the only data I have) the top five positions were awarded to the cars with the top five composite averages for all races in the proper order. I understand our method doesn't guarantee this result - but for the two data points I have - this is the result it has produced.



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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by gpraceman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:58 am

*5 J's* wrote:That was at the District race - approximately 80 cars - 4 lanes - I was a year ago - but I believe it was 3 hours.
Still sounds rather exorbitant to me (if running only once per lane). Our pack has run 99 heats in just under 1hr 15min. We've run the district race at that pace as well, with far more scouts. Pack and district racers are done on a 4 lane track.
*5 J's* wrote:I am open to listening to reasons why we need a track with more than two lanes as well as reasons why a scheduling method is "better", but the first thing for me to evaluate is - will the kids have fun. To me I think producing a high number of winners and utilizing a method that keeps the scouts in tune with who is doing well is key to the scouts having fun.
"Best" and "Fair" are highly subjective terms. I have found that no one solution works for all races. There is a lot to consider (number of racers, time constraints, number of track lanes, if no timer, points vs. times, expectations of parents and officials, etc.).

As for fun, can you have fun on a 4 lane track, sure! I think that is more determined by the overall race format (scheduling, scoring and structure). Wearing my race coordinator hat, I like the throughput of a 4 lane track over a 2 lane any day. Of course, that is my subjective opinion.


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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by *5 J's* » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:05 pm

"Best" and "Fair" are highly subjective terms.
Absolutely

Again, I am open to listening to reasons why we need a track with more than two lanes as well as reasons why a scheduling method is "better", but the first thing for me to evaluate is - will the kids have fun. This goes to the top of my list for importance.

I believe producing a high number of winners and utilizing a method that keeps the scouts in tune with who is doing well is key to the scouts having fun. This is not necessarily of the highest importance of every event coordinator or every parent - but it is most important to me.



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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by *5 J's* » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:33 pm

I guess it just I see a lot of discussion about what method is the fairest but don't see a lot of discussion on what is most exciting for the kids. I have seen "elimination methods" list as a con - "kids may lose interest when they are eliminated", however when I watched the PPN scheduled race I never saw the kids gain much interest - at least not to the level they did in an elimination method race. I would rather see some scouts lose interest then none gain interest. However, this year all the scouts seem to retain interest down to the last race.

Perhaps each chart that list the pro's and con's of each method should include a column for "Scout Interest"

Okay now I'll get off my :soapbox:



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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by gpraceman » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:53 pm

*5 J's* wrote:Perhaps each chart that list the pro's and con's of each method should include a column for "Scout Interest"
Again, that is quite subjective. I run many races each year (I bring in the track and run the computer) and I've seen lots of PPN races where there is plenty of interest until the very last heat. I've also seen ones where there is much less interest. A lot actually depends on the enthusiasm of the MC. Get someone up there with a monotone voice, can barely be heard or just doesn't show much enthusiasm, and the crowd doesn't get into it as much. I bet you can say the same thing about an elimination style race.
*5 J's* wrote:I believe producing a high number of winners and utilizing a method that keeps the scouts in tune with who is doing well is key to the scouts having fun.
Who's to say you cannot keep the audience in tune with who is doing well with a non-elimination method? You could always display the standings periodically or even full time updates. Personally, I do not recommend it, as I'm in the camp that feels that racers that see themselves out of the running for a trophy are more likely to lose interest in the race than to keep it.


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Re: What type of scheduling?

Post by FatSebastian » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:01 pm

*5 J's* wrote:Win rate is not of primary concern, but should be a consideration when choosing a scheduling method.
*5 J's* wrote:the first thing for me to evaluate is - will the kids have fun. This goes to the top of my list for importance. I believe producing a high number of winners and utilizing a method that keeps the scouts in tune with who is doing well is key to the scouts having fun. This is not necessarily of the highest importance of every event coordinator or every parent - but it is most important to me.
Certainly a high win rate seems to be a primary consideration (top two?), if not the most primary.
*5 J's* wrote:I am in a position to choose a new track with any number of lanes as well as choose the scheduling method - but cannot see a clear choice with either.
My impression is that, after doing some homework, you've concluded that your existing track and scheduling configuration works well given your priorities, and there is no incentive to change what you already do. Correct? If so - that's great! :thumbup:
*5 J's* wrote:I have seen "elimination methods" list as a con - "kids may lose interest when they are eliminated", however when I watched the PPN scheduled race I never saw the kids gain much interest
Our unit ran has run an elimination method the past few years. I must confess that by the end of the race, it seems that only a handful people are actually watching the race: those who are still competing, and their close acquaintances. (I wonder if a more close-knit unit might hold interest longer regardless of the scheduling method?)



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