May 082008
 

Harnessing the millions of easily distractable minds worldwide, groundbreaking science is being done. Rosetta@Home, the software that is modeled after Stanford’s Folding@Home and designed for distributed calculation and prediction for 3D protein shapes on millions of computers worldwide, now has a new feature. As the Economist article describes, the new Rosetta@Home software contains a game in which users (players) can manipulate the 3D protein structure according to basic laws of chemistry and physics in order to minimize energy. This was created due to the fact that 3D protein alignments and folding are still hugely computationally intensive, and often, the best 3D structures are found by molecular biologists working by hand rather than a computer using a heuristic algorithm. Moreover, humans often find these optimal structures faster than would the Rosetta@Home distributed computing network. There are some friendly competitions going on already.

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