Friday, May 23, 2008

Fold It!

It's a video game (seriously). I received the following brief in my email today.
Seattle, WA, May 8—Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers at the University of Washington (UW) working in biochemist David Baker's laboratory launched a free online game called "foldit," in which players compete to design proteins. Scientists can then test the proteins to see if they could make viable candidate compounds for new drugs.

Because protein modeling requires trillions of calculations, over 200,000 volunteers have donated their computers' down-time to performing those calculations in a network, called Rosetta@home, developed by Baker's laboratory. The network uses the Monte Carlo technique to find the best fit for all of the parts of a given protein. The volunteers began to believe that if they could help guide their computers, the solutions could be expedited.

Click on the link to look at and/or play Foldit

Taken from their About Foldit page.
Foldit attempts to predict the structure of a protein by taking advantage of humans' puzzle-solving intuitions and having people play competitively to fold the best proteins.

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