Foldit: gamers contribute to medical research

Never heard of this before but what an absolutely brilliant idea! The University of Washington created a Tetris-like game called Folditabout protein-folding.

We really do live in an age of technological wonder. Anyone play this game?

Cool! Downloading it now, I’ll let you know whether I can compete with a supercomputer or not.

Sorry to resurrect this thread, but just read yet another article about it in the December SciAm.

It seems that while a lot of valuable work in research on protein folding is being done by volunteers at distributed computing project Folding@Home and World Community Grid, humans are much better at finding the correct shapes for proteins than computers.

Created at the University of Washington, the game gives you a few simple rules to follow and a box of basic tools. From that you find the correct (lowest energy I think) structure for known proteins.

When asked if some of the gamers participating might one day share a Nobel Prize, he said that it was their “greatest hope.”

I’ve been trying to learn how to use the tools they provide in the game but I haven’t really gotten a feel for it yet. I think it would come much easier to people who are accustomed to 3D gaming.

Foldit players manageto solve a longstanding problem in AIDS research in just ten days.