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“Want to catalyze innovation? Look to the gamers”

In the Washington Post, DARPA Director Regina Dugan highlights UW’s Foldit game, in which 100,000+ gamers contribute to protein folding and protein structure calculation.

“We have a program — a game — called Foldit. It was originally sponsored at DARPA, and it is essentially the Tetris of protein folding. Understanding the three-dimensional folded structure of a protein is very important for understanding disease and for developing treatments for diseases. A gamer said, ‘Oh, look, lots of small manipulations, lots of detailed interactions — that’s a game.’ And so they built Foldit. Just last September, the three-dimensional protein structure for the retroviral protease that contributes [to] AIDS in rhesus monkeys was solved.

“For 15 years that problem was unsolved in the scientific community. The gamers solved it in days.”

Read Dr. Dugan’s Washington Post article here.  Play Foldit here.  Learn more about UW CSE’s Center for Game Science here.

February 28, 2012