Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Foldit

PostedSeptember 25, 2011

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ANCHOR LEDE: This week, researchers reported a key step toward a possible treatment for AIDS…and it was discovered by players of a computer game.

Randy Atkins: Using the online game Foldit, people around the world can collaborate and compete to predict how proteins fold. Zoran Popovic, at the University of Washington, says this is beyond fun.

Zoran Popovic: People from all walks of life can actually hold the answer to some big scientific discovery.

Randy Atkins: Popovic asked gamers to model the 3-D structure of a key protein from an AIDS-like virus. It had stumped scientists for fifteen years.

Zoran Popovic: We are leveraging human creativity, something that obviously computers cannot do well at all.

Randy Atkins: The game might also be used to personalize learning.

Zoran Popovic: We’ve figured out a new way to create really highly skilled people on a particular domain. 

Randy Atkins: Think: your kid as a math whiz. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.