Monday, February 06, 2012

Foldit: Biology for gamers - by Nature Video

Guessing how a protein will fold up based on its DNA sequence is often too difficult for even the most advanced computer programs. Now scientists have created Foldit, an online game that lets human players do the work. Read the original research at: and read more about 'citizen science' in this Nature News feature:

This is a great example of crowdsourcing applied to a real and important scientific problem. It seems to complement the use of heuristic programs for protein folding with the insight of humans. If I understand this correctly, scientists by analyzing the successful behavior of people who find new and better folds for the proteins, are then able to add new heuristic tools to their software. I suspect that getting a lot of people to work on the folding problems, including people who have not been exposed to the existing heuristic tools in the field, is a good way to find new approaches.

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