“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.”