Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Foldit — Maybe the Most Important Game Ever

posted by Nell Minow

You’ve heard of educational software that teaches you something but this is educational software that teaches scientists something. Foldit is a Tetris-like game that is easy to understand but a challenge to master. That’s what makes it fun. What makes it important is that it was designed by a very serious team of scientists based on models of proteins as a way of furthering their research. As people all over play the game, they are sending back to the scientists important data that will help them learn more about the way proteins work.

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, many possible structures is the best one is regarded as one of the hardest problems in biology today and current methods take a lot of money and time, even for computers. 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.

Advertisement

Calculations involving spatial understanding are among the few that are still done most effectively by humans instead of computers. As people work through the levels of the game, they are performing thousands of calculations and experiments. Some of them have even become so interested they have done a little research of their own. Others are just having fun working through the game and competing with each other online. PRI’s Studio 360 has a terrific segment on Foldit and a video clip to show how the game works.

Previous Posts

Joseph Gordon Levitt Wants to Know Your Thoughts on Technology and Democracy
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vZcaQ2Aeff8" frameborder="0"] Joseph Gordon-Levitt's HitRECord project has a new initiative. He's asking everyone to answer these questions: 1. Is today’s technology ...

posted 2:53:43pm Feb. 06, 2016 | read full post »

Interview: Nicholas Sparks on "The Choice"
Nicholas Sparks is one of the must successful and best-loved authors in the world. All of his books have been New York Times ...

posted 8:00:53am Feb. 06, 2016 | read full post »

Black History Month 2016
Be sure to take time during Black History month to watch movies the Civil Rights movement, ("Eyes on the Prize," "Selma," "Boycott"), and movies that are themselves a part of black history and film history (add to that list: "Killer of Sheep," ...

posted 3:55:11pm Feb. 05, 2016 | read full post »

A Moving Tribute to a Father Through Movies
Jessica Ritchey wrote a touching essay for Rogerebert.com about the movies she watched in the year after her father died, and how watching them helped her to keep him close. I’ve been published several times by the time I see "Crimson ...

posted 8:00:40am Feb. 05, 2016 | read full post »

Hail, Caesar!
The Coen brothers love old movies, and not just the classics. I remember reading an interview where they discussed their affection for ...

posted 5:59:12pm Feb. 04, 2016 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.