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Exploration Map

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XMAP!

The Exploration Map

The Matrix of FolditEdit

The exploration map shows the spread of probabilities of the energy levels of the protein being explored by the players. Its is the treasure map that the scientists use to help find the lowest minimum energy state.

The chart is really upside down in that the lowest minimum is shown as the highest point on the exploration map. In order to see all of the exploration map you need to be near the lead in a game, and, therefore, high up on the chart in order to see the top of each cone of white spots that are the highest points that a certain backbone shape will generate. Each cloud of probabilities is the arc of points generated by that particular script and backbone stance.


The exploration map shows where the peaks are located and which stances and scripts have climbed the highest. It is a visual matrix of which players and stances are in the lead. This is just a generalization as there are always script breakthroughs. like when your blue dot takes off in a totally new direction climbing higher and higher above all the rest and you can see the tops of all the other white cloud tops of probabilities. Once you get to the HIGHEST SCORE in the game you can see everyone else's runs and the white arcs generated by the other running scripts.

Static StateEdit

When you view the map in a static state the information is dead ink on paper, but when viewed live like in the movie, 'The 'Matrix', ' you can sometimes see changes in the force and position of the other player stances and try to lead the pack by changing scripts to pull your blue dot to the left (the hard way) or to the right (easier). Why is that?

The simpler, less changed solutions lay closer to the left side of the chart, the starting stance. The more confused solutions lay further to the right side of the chart, further from the starting position. On the exploration map, left means closer to initial state - no major change in shape. The further you go to the right the more different is the backbone shape. The vertical is your score and is mainly based on the sidechain scores.

Each New StanceEdit

Each new stance of the backbone that the protein assumes creates a new vertical line. The highest peeks above these lines indicate the shapes of the backbone that are presently scoring the highest. So if you can change your position on the chart, by changing the backbone, to be under the highest peak and then climb up, by maximizing the side chains etc, you may approach the leaders, or hopefully, even pass them.

What Do the Colors Mean? Edit

  • Xmap 4
    Blue is where your current score is.
  • Red is where the game starts.
  • Green is where you and your team have gone before.
  • White is where every one has gone before.


All of these boxes are like footprints in the snow as you climb the mountain towards the highest peak scores. After running a script for a long time, your blue ball begins to leave green tracks where it has been.
Xmap 3

Trails & Peaks

These green tracks create the white dots. You can see everyone else's green tracks as the white dots on the chart. Therefore, the whitest dense tracks are the most popular backbone stances that have been run, not necessarily the best for a particular puzzle, but the most popular run tracks. Therefore, if you can tie a particular stance to a certain track or peak then you can sometimes judge how your stance might succeed. You might then be able to try improving your backbone's position, directing your blue ball up past the other leaders to the top of the pack. .

Although the distance from native map the scientist use contains some of the same information, it is distinctly different from the xmap. The xmap shows how far your protein has drifted from the starting point of the puzzle. The more your protein changed from the starting position of the puzzle the further to the right it goes. In general, changing the backbone, which changes the shape of the protein, move you right and left on the xmap, depending on how different from the starting backbone you are. Maximizing the sidechaines mainly moves you up and down.

Different Puzzles Different XmapsEdit

Exploration Maps are as different as fingerprints, and like fingerprints, they are unique for each puzzle. Each puzzle draws a different x map. The scripts working on the different puzzles all draw vertical lines that climb up to peaks. The peaks are the highest scores that the different scripts can climb to at that time.

Xmap 5

Most puzzles look similar to this

  • Most puzzles - Most puzzles allow drawing many lines and peeks with a broad white lower area. They enable lots of positions to be created.
  • Frozen protiens puzzles - Draw a single or just a few vertical lines because the frozen backbone cant be moved. Only the unfrozen segments draw iines..
  • De novo puzzles - Don't have xmaps because there is no right shape.
  • Design interface puzzles - Draw a number of discrete vertical lines, one for each small change in the designed backbone.

Some puzzle scores and stances can be on the same horzontal or vertical line as other solutions because their conformational scores can overlap each other. Think of the exploration map as a flattened 3d plot of points squished onto a flat 2d chart. More then one solution can overlap and lay on the same horizontal or vertical lines.

More Techniques at > The Foldit Labs

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