PC Gamers Advance AIDS Research--By Gaming - HotHardware
PC Gamers Advance AIDS Research--By Gaming

PC Gamers Advance AIDS Research--By Gaming

A story on the FoxNews website reports that in a matter of days, PC gamers have been able to decipher the structure of a retrovirus protein that has stymied scientists for years. The protein is a critical component in how some viruses multiply, including HIV. It is hoped that the findings will help open the door to the creation of new drugs that can inhibit the virus’s ability to multiply and ultimately stop the spread of the virus.

To pull of the feat, the researchers at the University of Washington used a game called FoldIt, which is available for PC, Mac, and Linux, that tasks gamers with creating 3D models. According to the FoldIt website, the games are “meant to generate the evidence needed to prove that human protein folders can be more effective than computers at certain aspects of protein structure prediction. That's what all the puzzles in FoldIt are about right now: predicting the structure of a protein based on its amino acid sequence.”

One of the lead authors of the study, Firas Khatib, said, “We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed. The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems." (source: Nature Structural & Molecular Biology)

The researchers are hopeful that their findings will open the door to more crowd-sourcing and online game-playing in scientific discovery. One of the co-creators of FoldIt says humans have spatial reasoning skills that computers are not yet good at, which helps explain why gamers were able to decipher the protein so quickly, where the brute force of computers have failed. Whatever the reason, the study proves something we’ve known for ages—PC gamers rule.

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I have never heard of foldit, I initially thought they meant Folding @Home. Either way great things can be done when you apply your resources correctly which is awesome!

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lol same here rapid, i had to google foldit after reading this :D. But hey now no one should say gaming isn't good :P

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pretty sure we are going to hear more stories like this. A perfect blend of tech,human problem solving & competitive teamwork at it's best.Great News !

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"Thats some good stuff, but  I'm dead set, that some lab has found a way to treat AIds successfully, at least in its early stage or HIV form, and its probably the same labs that are providing the treatments. I believe They are not admitting anything, because its more profitable for them to make, sell and distribute pills and medicine than to have a cure. The funding they receive for treatment of people in Africa and other countries by Big governments and Charities is overwhelming."

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Heard circa 2100 "We learned in school today how the gamer's saved the race beginning in 2011 by finding the cure to aid's" "Yes honey that is why they live in a monastery so no one can disturb them when they are working for the public's over all good" "Is that why we always see the BAWL's truck making deliveries on Thursday afternoon" Reply "Yes son BAWL's helps them work all weekend long with little or no sleep" "Wow daddy they sound like super humans" "yes the gamers give up almost everything for the world" "When I grow up I want to be a gamer daddy" "it is a hard path to follow but we will support you if that is what you want to do with your life, and be very proud of you"

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I guess that there is no beating the ~"Collective Hive Intelligence"~ of a lot of smart people working together on a really hard problem. I think that it's a good idea to tap any resource that may produce the results that you need.

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Wow thats genius!

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Definitely an interesting piece of news..just goes to show how awesome gamers really are :)

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This article should be entitled. Gamers use the force to save mankind :P

Very cool, gamers have a very different way of thinking about many things and this is a great way to utilize their brains and have a little fun at the same time.

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Gaming increases your deductive reasoning if you do it long enough. These guys just put all of that to use.

Whomever it was that set this all up to happen like it did is the real Fart Smeller, oops!,...I meant Smart Feller.

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Foldit is intreguiging. I don't know if Humans are capable enough to fold (aka put together a bunch of genes and stuff) but certainly this game will help guide them in the right way, well the right way to fold...

Wheatley:
Thats some good stuff, but I'm dead set, that some lab has found a way to treat AIds successfully, at least in its early stage or HIV form, and its probably the same labs that are providing the treatments. I believe They are not admitting anything, because its more profitable for them to make, sell and distribute pills and medicine than to have a cure. The funding they receive for treatment of people in Africa and other countries by Big governments and Charities is overwhelming."

Uh huh... Right... I'm guessing that when Smallpox hit the scene, they were only focused on making money rather than finding a cure. I mean with that mentality, Smallpox would still be here today.

In any case, the reason they haven't found a cure is because HIV is generally hard to cure; sure, I mean there are conspiracy theories floating around that one of these labs have found the cure but can't a lab outside of the US find a cure and then announce that they've found the cure. I mean there are other medical labs outside of the US you know.

People want a cure, and it's taking a long time to find one due to the difficulty of either HIV or AIDS. Only medicine could help curb and make the disease manageable but it'll still kill them. Only time will tell if they're able to successfully make a cure for both HIV and AIDS.

Also the medical companies have something better to worry about; ever since most of their prescriptions went generic (as in you don't have to pay a lot of money to get them.), and as such it hit their business pretty hard. I mean if these medical businesses can't create new medicine to help combat viruses/diseases and market them in a way that'll make them profitable (ie non-generic) then these drug companies will shortly become the new trouble spot in the economy.

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Knew all those hours playing Ultima III would pay off someday.

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CDeeter:
Knew all those hours playing Ultima III would pay off someday.

Excuse me, I have to go now, UT3 awaits,............

 

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I actually tried this out prior to hearing about this story. A friend of mine refered it to me

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This is also a nice educational game for students. If a teacher were to give this to a group of students, they may want to play it just to beat some of their friends. So they would be learning about protein structures without even knowing it.

“Most of what we learn, we learn indirectly.” - Randy Pausch.

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