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

Interview: Director John Goldschmidt on "Dough"
John Goldschmidt is the director and co-producer of the film “Dough,” a sweet comedy about an Orthodox Jewish baker (Jonathan Pryce) whose new assistant is a Muslim teenager from Darfur who has a side business dealing weed. The marijuana ...

posted 3:40:09pm May. 02, 2016 | read full post »

Janis Joplin on PBS American Masters
The two most dazzling life performances I have ever seen or will ever see were both by Janis Joplin. This week, the PBS American Masters series is her story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BecO7FgQnEc Here she is at the Monterey music ...

posted 1:58:52pm May. 02, 2016 | read full post »

Trailer: Snowden
There's a new movie coming out about Edward Snowden, directed by Oliver Stone, a master of paranoic drama with a historical focus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KyltHXrxVk If you're interested in the issue of government spying, national ...

posted 8:00:00am May. 02, 2016 | read full post »

The Meddler
Marnie (Susan Sarandon) is the irresistible force who, just before this movie starts, meets the immovable object: devastating grief in ...

posted 11:42:17am May. 01, 2016 | read full post »

May 2016: Movies This Month
Happy May! The blockbuster movie season officially starts this week with the latest superhero movie from Marvel, and the month will end with another superhero movie as well. But we'll get some good smaller movies, too. Here's what I'm looking ...

posted 12:18:04am May. 01, 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.