AIDS Research Progress through Online Gaming

Perhaps you’ve already this exciting news:

Over a three-week period, gamers playing Foldit, an online protein-folding game, helped to map out the structure of an enzyme that could be used to help fight HIV and AIDS.

What the gamers were able to accomplish in unlocking the structure of a protein called M-PMV was something that scientists, engineers and automated computer programs haven’t been to pull off in about a decade’s worth of attempts, according to a study published in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

This online game, which I’ve referenced several times before, provides a prime example of the open source phenomenon spreading beyond software programming.  It’s interesting to consider why scientific discovery might provide a ripe field for such collaboration.  I’ve yet to see examples as successful in areas such as government, supply chain planning, or other areas of personal interest.  Here’s to hoping that we do see such examples, and in short order.

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