Friday, May 09, 2008

Folding proteins for fun

There's been a project called Folding@Home around for a while. Basically, a project at Stanford borrows your computer to do heavy computations related to biochemistry: protein folding and misfolding, solving problems.

Well, a somewhat related project called Foldit allows you, the user, to fold protein chains interactively. I've tried it and it's a hoot. Essentially, you are trying to find the most stable state for the protein (highest energy maybe? lowest energy? I don't know the chemistry).

It's a fascinating way to play around with chemicals. It might even be possible for the scientists behind the game to teach protein folding to computers by using human play.

Download it if you like puzzles. The control isn't terrific, but it's plenty good enough for fun.

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