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Monday, September 19, 2016

Crowdsourcing Science with Foldit

I recall reading about this some time ago, and wondering about the value of such methods.  Our own R&D groups had looked at solving related problems.  Here is an update I caught.  Perhaps the best example of value from gamification.

Gamers beat scientists to making a protein discovery
It's proof that crowdsourced science can solve problems quickly.

It's no great shock to see citizen scientists make discoveries that professionals miss, but making it through a video game? That's different. Gamers playing Foldit, a puzzle title that has teams trying to fold the best protein, have identified the shape of a protein before scientists (including two trained experts and 61 University of Michigan undergrads) could manage the feat. And it's not as if there were legions of contributors, either, as it took a relatively modest 469 players to help out.

The protein in question may be particularly significant. It prevents plaque formation, hinting that it might help fight Alzheimer's if and when the medical community develops a practical use for it.  ... " 

On the Science of Foldit.

Foldit in Wikipedia.

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