Players of online computer game solve scientific puzzles
Compared to slaying dragons or building civilizations, figuring out the shape of a protein doesn’t sound particularly thrilling. But turn the task into an online game, replete with the competition and camaraderie of “World of Warcraft,” and the masses will come.
More than 57,000 people, many of them nonscientists, got involved in Foldit, a game geared towards solving the puzzle of protein structure, researchers report in the Aug. 5 Nature. And several top-ranked players outdid state-of-the-art computer algorithms that tackle the same tasks. The project suggests that online games t