Scientists Turn To Gamers To Solve Health Problems

  • Protein puzzle for gamers
  • Helping solve health issues
  • Helping solve US defence software issues

An interesting titbit to come out of the United Sates is that the Pentagon’s research body – the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – is looking towards the gaming community to help sol

  • Protein puzzle for gamers
  • Helping solve health issues
  • Helping solve US defence software issues

An interesting titbit to come out of the United Sates is that the Pentagon’s research body – the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – is looking towards the gaming community to help solve health issues amongst US defence personal.

Specifically, DARPA has asked 250,000 players of the online game Foldit to identify effective treatments for sepsis, an often deadly infection of the bloodstream.

Developed by the University of Washington’s Center for Game Science and Department of Biochemistry, Folditchallenges gamers worldwide to fold virtual protein molecules into different formations to obtain the highest-scoring, or lowest-energy, models.

DARPA asks gamers to craft proteins that can bind to, and help remove, pathogens in the blood that are linked to sepsis. It is not the first time Foldit players have been asked to help in this way, as earlier this year, they remodelled a reaction in organic synthesis in three weeks –  something that had evaded scientists for years.

DARPA is also planning to engage the same community in a program designed to find and fix software bugs that threaten U.S. weapons and defence systems. The program, titled Crowd Sourced Formal Verification, is seeking to turn what can be a boring job into something that is fun, while also solving real-life problems. And DARPA is not stopping there as it intends to create tens of thousands of similar games designed to fix real-world issues with military software.

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