Gamers Succeed Where Scientists Fail

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Orleander, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Gamers Solve AIDS Puzzle

    YES! In only 3 weeks?! I wonder how much money this saved. I hope this opens the door on solving other medical/scientific problems

    ..Developed in 2008 by the University of Washington, it is a fun-for-purpose video game in which gamers, divided into competing groups, compete to unfold chains of amino acids -- the building blocks of proteins -- using a set of online tools.
    To the astonishment of the scientists, the gamers produced an accurate model of the enzyme in just three weeks.
    Cracking the enzyme "provides new insights for the design of antiretroviral drugs," says the study, referring to the lifeline medication against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
    It is believed to be the first time that gamers have resolved a long-standing scientific problem...


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  3. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

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    I feel this sets a problematic precedent for parents telling their kids to stop wasting time playing computer games!

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  5. Idle Mind What the hell, man? Valued Senior Member

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    Wow, that's pretty cool.
     
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  7. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Now if they could start working on the common flu....
     
  8. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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  9. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    I couldn't see where it said how many gamers were involved, but the whole monkeys and typewriters thing springs to mind.
    It surely just comes down to having extra resources for processing power once the initial setup is created.
     
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Moderator note: 2 threads on same topic merged, with permanent redirects in Computer Science and Biology.
     
  11. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    If only they could make a game that cures cancer by grinding to level 50 in world of warcraft. Utopia.

    Nerd time is a magical thing I guess.
     
  12. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

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    I see what you mean but I suppose it boils down to what type of resource you utilise. For me the most significant and interesting aspect of this story is that brute force computer algorithm analysis cannot necessarily do better than human ‘intuition’. I know little, if anything, about bioinformatics but this would seem to me to be an important consideration when tackling a modelling problem.


    Yes Orleander, but whose thread has been subsumed into whose?

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  13. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    *Passes the Mountain Dew*
     
  14. siledre Registered Senior Member

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    I think science lost their imagination and while not all problems need a lot of imagination to solve, it can't hurt as this has proved.
     
  15. Telemachus Rex Protesting Mod Stupidity Registered Senior Member

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    Does anyone else imagine those scientists saying this right before the idea struck them, "If only we had a million monkeys and a million typrewriters...Hey! Wait a minute!"
     
  16. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

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    yep, asking gamers for help was a smart (and cheap) move.
     
  17. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    Probably depends on the complexity of the problem and the solution involved. Obviously the more complex the issue the more complex programming the AI would be, and more room for error. It's possibly not intuition, but relation to experiences upon which the computer is lacking. Can a few hundred* experienced and well developed problem solving brains process more than a PC - seems possible!

    *Arbitrary figure for example. Actually it was probably more than a few hundred as I seem to recall this being an open source platform available for anyone to try, so possibly thousands of people at any one time.
     
  18. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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    On Line Gamers Solve HIV Protease Puzzle in 10 days

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    Fans of the late StarGate Universe certainly remember the scene in which Eli solved the mathematical puzzle necessary to unlock the stargate when he thought he was just playing a video game. Well, reality has now caught up with the SciFi channel.

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    Scientists have been trying to figure out the structure of Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (M-PMV) retroviral protease for over a decade. Stumped, they turned to online video gamers playing a game called Foldit. In just 10 days, the gamers solved the puzzle and came up with an almost perfect model.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2011/09/online_gamers_enlisted_by_univ.html
     

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