Build a new scoring engine

Watcher Decision Engine has an external scoring engine plugin interface which gives anyone the ability to integrate an external scoring engine in order to make use of it in a strategy.

This section gives some guidelines on how to implement and integrate custom scoring engines with Watcher. If you wish to create a third-party package for your plugin, you can refer to our documentation for third-party package creation.


Because scoring engines execute a purely mathematical tasks, they typically do not have any additional dependencies. Additional requirements might be defined by specific scoring engine implementations. For example, some scoring engines might require to prepare learning data, which has to be loaded during the scoring engine startup. Some other might require some external services to be available (e.g. if the scoring infrastructure is running in the cloud).

Create a new scoring engine plugin

In order to create a new scoring engine you have to:

  • Extend the watcher.decision_engine.scoring.base.ScoringEngine class

  • Implement its get_name() method to return the unique ID of the new scoring engine you want to create. This unique ID should be the same as the name of the entry point we will declare later on.

  • Implement its get_description() method to return the user-friendly description of the implemented scoring engine. It might contain information about algorithm used, learning data etc.

  • Implement its get_metainfo() method to return the machine-friendly metadata about this scoring engine. For example, it could be a JSON formatted text with information about the data model used, its input and output data format, column names, etc.

  • Implement its calculate_score() method to return the result calculated by this scoring engine.

Here is an example showing how you can write a plugin called NewScorer:

# filepath: thirdparty/
# import path:
from watcher.decision_engine.scoring import base

class NewScorer(base.ScoringEngine):

    def get_name(self):
        return 'new_scorer'

    def get_description(self):
        return ''

    def get_metainfo(self):
        return """{
            "feature_columns": [
            "result_columns": [

    def calculate_score(self, features):
        return '[12, 0.83]'

As you can see in the above example, the calculate_score() method returns a string. Both this class and the client (caller) should perform all the necessary serialization or deserialization.

(Optional) Create a new scoring engine container plugin

Optionally, it’s possible to implement a container plugin, which can return a list of scoring engines. This list can be re-evaluated multiple times during the lifecycle of Watcher Decision Engine and synchronized with Watcher Database using the watcher-sync command line tool.

Below is an example of a container using some scoring engine implementation that is simply made of a client responsible for communicating with a real scoring engine deployed as a web service on external servers:

class NewScoringContainer(base.ScoringEngineContainer):

    def get_scoring_engine_list(self):
        return [
                description='Some remote Scoring Engine 1',
                description='Some remote Scoring Engine 2',

Abstract Plugin Class

Here below is the abstract watcher.decision_engine.scoring.base.ScoringEngine class:

class watcher.decision_engine.scoring.base.ScoringEngine(config)[source]

A base class for all the Scoring Engines.

A Scoring Engine is an instance of a data model, to which the learning data was applied.

Please note that this class contains non-static and non-class methods by design, so that it’s easy to create multiple Scoring Engine instances using a single class (possibly configured differently).

abstract calculate_score(features)[source]

Calculates a score value based on arguments passed.

Scoring Engines might be very different to each other. They might solve different problems or use different algorithms or frameworks internally. To enable this kind of flexibility, the method takes only one argument (string) and produces the results in the same format (string). The consumer of the Scoring Engine is ultimately responsible for providing the right arguments and parsing the result.


features (str) – Input data for Scoring Engine


A score result

Return type:


classmethod get_config_opts()[source]

Defines the configuration options to be associated to this loadable


A list of configuration options relative to this Loadable

Return type:

list of oslo_config.cfg.Opt instances

abstract get_description()[source]

Returns the description of the Scoring Engine.

The description might contain any human readable information, which might be useful for Strategy developers planning to use this Scoring Engine. It will be also visible in the Watcher API and CLI.


A Scoring Engine description

Return type:


abstract get_metainfo()[source]

Returns the metadata information about Scoring Engine.

The metadata might contain a machine-friendly (e.g. in JSON format) information needed to use this Scoring Engine. For example, some Scoring Engines require to pass the array of features in particular order to be able to calculate the score value. This order can be defined in metadata and used in Strategy.


A Scoring Engine metadata

Return type:


abstract get_name()[source]

Returns the name of the Scoring Engine.

The name should be unique across all Scoring Engines.


A Scoring Engine name

Return type:


Abstract Plugin Container Class

Here below is the abstract ScoringContainer class:

class watcher.decision_engine.scoring.base.ScoringEngineContainer(config)[source]

A base class for all the Scoring Engines Containers.

A Scoring Engine Container is an abstraction which allows to plugin multiple Scoring Engines as a single Stevedore plugin. This enables some more advanced scenarios like dynamic reloading of Scoring Engine implementations without having to restart any Watcher services.

classmethod get_config_opts()[source]

Defines the configuration options to be associated to this loadable


A list of configuration options relative to this Loadable

Return type:

list of oslo_config.cfg.Opt instances

abstract classmethod get_scoring_engine_list()[source]

Returns a list of Scoring Engine instances.


A list of Scoring Engine instances

Return type:



Add a new entry point

In order for the Watcher Decision Engine to load your new scoring engine, it must be registered as a named entry point under the watcher_scoring_engines entry point of your file. If you are using pbr, this entry point should be placed in your setup.cfg file.

The name you give to your entry point has to be unique and should be the same as the value returned by the get_name() method of your strategy.

Here below is how you would proceed to register NewScorer using pbr:

watcher_scoring_engines =
    new_scorer =

To get a better understanding on how to implement a more advanced scoring engine, have a look at the DummyScorer class. This implementation is not really using machine learning, but other than that it contains all the pieces which the “real” implementation would have.

In addition, for some use cases there is a need to register a list (possibly dynamic, depending on the implementation and configuration) of scoring engines in a single plugin, so there is no need to restart Watcher Decision Engine every time such list changes. For these cases, an additional watcher_scoring_engine_containers entry point can be used.

For the example how to use scoring engine containers, please have a look at the DummyScoringContainer and the way it is configured in setup.cfg. For new containers it could be done like this:

watcher_scoring_engine_containers =
    new_scoring_container =

Using scoring engine plugins

The Watcher Decision Engine service will automatically discover any installed plugins when it is restarted. If a Python package containing a custom plugin is installed within the same environment as Watcher, Watcher will automatically make that plugin available for use.

At this point, Watcher will scan and register inside the Watcher Database all the scoring engines you implemented upon restarting the Watcher Decision Engine.

In addition, watcher-sync tool can be used to trigger Watcher Database synchronization. This might be used for “dynamic” scoring containers, which can return different scoring engines based on some external configuration (if they support that).