Monday, 19 September 2011

Gamers solve AIDS enzyme puzzle with on-line breakthrough. Foldit is looking for players.

Progressive solutions shown from
spvincent, grabhorn and mimi
Foldit has a scoring system that lets competitive gamers solve original 3-D shape problems in science.  A 21-day run targeted an elusive protein that triggers AIDS in Rhesus monkeys.  Gamers were given some plausible starter shapes and shape-folding software. Each shape earns an energy score with the best solution being the one that takes the least energy to hang together. The color-coded picture combines interim solutions in one view. spvincent came up with a partial threading idea, teammate grabhorn tightened up the core modelling and mimi saw that the top left loop could be tucked in for a better scoring shape.  Seventy five thousand scores later, the researchers realized the gamers had an almost perfect solution and were able to tidy up the details.

Popular report from Yahoo.
The real stuff at the Foldit site.  
Link to the research paper.
You can join at the Foldit site.  Just now they are processing uploads for solving some H2N2 flu virus behavior and will soon be reposting the "Electron Density Puzzle".

Researcher Khatib:"Gamers are led entirely by the score in the game. They are free and unshackled whereas all the people in the lab who work on structure prediction, we are horrible Foldit players. We have all these preconceptions."
Some info on Foldit

Part of the bigger picture: HIV Virus - Stunning 3-D model

h/t Damien Moore

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