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Foldit: Gaming for a cure

Two years ago, a team from UW including CSE professor Zoran Popovic, CSE grad student Seth Cooper, and UW Biochemistry professor (and adjunct CSE professor) David Baker, launched an ambitious project harnessing the brainpower of computer gamers to solve medical problems.

“The game, Foldit, turns one of the hardest problems in molecular biology into a game a bit reminiscent of Tetris. Thousands of people have now played a game that asks them to fold a protein rather than stack colored blocks or rescue a princess.

“Results published Thursday (Aug. 5) in the journal Nature show that Foldit is a success. It turns out that people can, indeed, compete with supercomputers in this arena. Analysis shows that players bested the computers on problems that required radical moves, risks and long-term vision — the kinds of qualities that computers do not possess.”

Read the UW News article here. TechFlash here. Nature here.

Additional coverage:  Wired. CosmicLog on Discover MagazineArs TechnicaTechNewsDaily.    Popular ScienceScience NewsScientific American Seattle TimesLos Angeles TimesThe EconomistPC WorldCNETCBS NewsUPIGizmag. HPCwireNewScientistDie PressePhysics TodayForbesThe EconomistThe Economist:  Technology Babbage