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Optimal system configuration for large searches

We are running a number of large runs to optimize share of preference using exhaustive search.  

The runs were taking extremely long (3+ days) with our computer here, so we decided to configure an instance of a really good machine on Amazon and run it there.

We set up a machine with 36 vCPUs (threads) and 18 cores @ 3.00 GHz, and 72 GB of RAM.  The machine has an SSD so any read/write features would be fast.

However, even with this powerful machine, we haven't seen any improvement in our performance.  (Interestingly for the first couple hours, all CPUs were running at 100%, but now it seems to be at 33% overall.  Memory isn't an issue.  But it isn't faster.)

We can easily set up another Amazon instance if we knew what the secret would be to get better performance.  I have found some other comments on here about optimal system configuration, but they are old (and don't seem to match with the failure to improve that we have experienced). Does anyone have any suggestions?
asked Dec 10, 2018 by Andrew S (235 points)
I'm going to see if I can get a developer to comment, but a tip independent of the hardware is that if your search space is very large, you might want to consider changing your simulation method from Randomized First Choice (what the software defaults to) to a faster estimation method like First Choice or Share of Preference.  RFC runs a simulation typically hundreds of thousands of times, and must do so for every step of the way in your search.  RFC searches that take hours to run can often be done in seconds or minutes if you change the simulation method to make the underlying math much much easier.

1 Answer

+1 vote
If you would like, you can send your project to me at walt at sawtoothsoftware.com, and I will take a look to see what may be causing the bottleneck (in addition to RFC, which Brian mentioned).
answered Dec 11, 2018 by Walter Williams Gold Sawtooth Software, Inc. (18,005 points)
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