Friday, December 11, 2009

FoldIt: Protein Folding Game

Foldit is a challenging, fun, protein folding game. The number of different ways even a small protein can fold is astronomical because there are so many degrees of freedom. Figuring out which of the many possible structures is the best one is regarded as one of the hardest problems in biology today. 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.

By playing the game, you also contribute to important scientific research. The Foldit team, from the University of Washington Departments of Computer Science & Engineering and Biochemistry, is collecting data to find out if humans' pattern-recognition and puzzle-solving abilities make them more efficient than existing computer programs at pattern-folding tasks. If this turns out to be true, Foldit can then teach human strategies to computers and fold proteins faster than ever!


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