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Gamers solve decade old HIV puzzle in ten days

This one speaks for itself.

Hat tip to my brother Jared for the link.

 

Puzzled by the intricate structure of the M-PMV retroviral protein… scientists have striven to find its chemical key for ten years now. Each enzyme has millions of possible combination in which it can fold its atom bonds, and determining its precise structure is a very laborious enterprise even for high-end computers with large processing power.

As a long-shot University of Washington biologists sent the virtual 3D model of the M-PMV to the online game Foldit, where gamers folded and turned it into a myriad of combinations. Eventually, and remarkably enough, the gamers obtained the optimum one – the state that needed the lowest energy to maintain….

“Eventually”?
“They actually did it in less than 10 days.”

Yeah gamers!

The reason why computers haven’t been able to do this, despite their evidently superior processing capabilities, is that they’re still far from being capable of having human-like spatial reasoning.

 

I buy that argument as part of it.  I also wonder about the characteristics of the neural super-net that is collaborative human interaction.

 

Interestingly enough, Foldit records the players’ actions and processes them in an algorithm which will eventually help the AI behind the game to someday be able to compile successful structures on its own.

 

Well, whether you buy that might depend whether you believe that algorithms can generate strong AI, or not.

 

Good stuff.

KBM
P.S. Let’s see if this successfully cross-posts to Facebook and Twitter…
1 comment

1 Comment so far

  1. Jinnayah November 13th, 2013 10:52 pm

    So does or doesn’t this count as another of the many things that Douglas Adams fans already were fully aware of?

    Deep Thought Prophesies The Earth: “a computer of such infinite and subtle complexity that organic life itself shall form part of its operational matrix”

    But also, Mice Negotiate for Valuable Asset:

    Arthur: Sorry, did you just say you need my brain?
    Mouse: Yes, to complete the program.
    Arthur: (chuckles) You, you can’t have my brain: I’m using it.
    Mouse: Hardly.

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