Preparing your results

Our searching services are busy right now. Your search will reload in five seconds.

X
Forgot Password

If you have forgotten your password you can enter your email here and get a temporary password sent to your email.

Predicting protein structures with a multiplayer online game.

Nature | Aug 5, 2010

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20686574

People exert large amounts of problem-solving effort playing computer games. Simple image- and text-recognition tasks have been successfully 'crowd-sourced' through games, but it is not clear if more complex scientific problems can be solved with human-directed computing. Protein structure prediction is one such problem: locating the biologically relevant native conformation of a protein is a formidable computational challenge given the very large size of the search space. Here we describe Foldit, a multiplayer online game that engages non-scientists in solving hard prediction problems. Foldit players interact with protein structures using direct manipulation tools and user-friendly versions of algorithms from the Rosetta structure prediction methodology, while they compete and collaborate to optimize the computed energy. We show that top-ranked Foldit players excel at solving challenging structure refinement problems in which substantial backbone rearrangements are necessary to achieve the burial of hydrophobic residues. Players working collaboratively develop a rich assortment of new strategies and algorithms; unlike computational approaches, they explore not only the conformational space but also the space of possible search strategies. The integration of human visual problem-solving and strategy development capabilities with traditional computational algorithms through interactive multiplayer games is a powerful new approach to solving computationally-limited scientific problems.

Pubmed ID: 20686574 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Algorithms | Computational Biology | Computer Graphics | Computer Simulation | Cooperative Behavior | Cues | Games, Experimental | Group Processes | Humans | Hydrogen Bonding | Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions | Imaging, Three-Dimensional | Internet | Leisure Activities | Models, Molecular | Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular | Photic Stimulation | Problem Solving | Protein Conformation | Protein Folding | Proteins | Stochastic Processes | Thermodynamics