UW’s Foldit protein folding game received nice coverage in a Computerworld article on human computation (and more generally the importance of human-computer symbiosis).
“You can play a video game called Foldit on the Web while making important contributions to science. Understanding how 3-D proteins ‘fold’ into their optimum structures is critical to understanding disease, but it’s difficult computationally because there are an astronomical number of possible folds for most proteins.
“The thousands of people who play Foldit use their pattern-recognition and puzzle-solving skills to predict protein structures in a way computers can’t easily duplicate. ‘Teenaged gamers are beating the pants off Ph.D. biochemists,’ says Ed Lazowska, a computer science professor at the University of Washington, where Foldit was created.”
See the full Computerworld article here.