Video gamers unlock AIDS protein structure

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by mbofov, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Fascinating article in PC Magazine:,2817,2393200,00.asp

    how video gamers using an on-line game (Foldit) were able to decipher the structure of an AIDS protein in three weeks, which may lead to development of future drugs. Researchers had been trying unsucessfully for 10 years to do the same thing.

    (PC Magazine grants permission for links to articles)

    I'm wondering if this gaming technology could be applicable to XMRV research --

  2. grayfryer

    grayfryer New Member

    Damn and i've just finished crash bandicoot {1}lol..... guess i'm way behind in the gaming scene
  3. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    It really is pretty awesome. The site has been overwhelmed with new users (including me!), but it is taking me a while to work through the tutorials. Most of my slowness seems to be getting used to the movement plus, of course, just trying to understand what it is all the little pieces are for and how they affect each other.

    Whoever thought of putting these two (usually) unrelated things together -- gamers and researchers -- was a genius!
  4. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I know I should keep at it but I feel like such a klutz when I try to play even the most simple games. Back in the day of the Atari (boy, am I dating myself here or what :) I used to play River Raid and I was good at it. I also played a shoot-em-up space game and I was very good at that. Today, though, these kids have super fast abilities. I keep forgetting what all the buttons on my Wii are for. I didn't buy the Wii for gaming; I got it for working out inside. Still, I couldn't resist buying a couple of games. I thought maybe Andy and I could play when he comes down, at the risk of being humiliated by a six year old. He plays all kinds of games on his Mom's iPhone.

    I feared addiction in the beginning but I suck so bad at it that I don't think addiction is going to be a problem.

    Love, Mikie
  5. Juloo

    Juloo Member is basically easy *in concept*.

    There are backbones of proteins -- with orange thingies that like to be toward the middle and blue thingies that like to be toward the outside. The controls allow the gamer to move everything in 3D, so if you are good at spatial constructs, this could be your thing. The program is set up to give you points for the most efficient form of the parts and has some short-cut buttons to 'wiggle' it around to improve it. Some squiggly things that are attached can be changed to other forms of squiggly things which have slightly different rules for arrangement. (I'm not a biochemist, so I can't be more specific -- actually, I think that's a strength of the's easier to think of the protein in terms of forms and lines.)

    When you're done with the tutorials (I'm only about 1/3 of the way there, so I've got a lot to learn), you can work as a 'loner' (by yourself on a problem) or you can work in a group -- like take someone else's high score and see if you can tweak it to get it to be more efficient. It was this second mode that made the article.
  6. jessiereal24

    jessiereal24 Member

    It's really amazing how an online computer game can really treat a serious scientific problem. Besides, the treatment of HIV and AIDS has been basically the same since 1996. How, precisely, the enzymes and proteins of HIV and AIDS work together have been a mystery. Experts have, for the last 10 years, been attempting to determine this challenge. Researchers studying the HIV-like disease eventually decided to ask users of a computer game for help. Just three weeks later, the query has been answered.

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