To appreciate the complexity of the problem, Duke Ferris quoted from New York Times has this to say:
“The problem is that these proteins are far, far more complex than a robotic arm, and can ‘fold’ in time frames measured in billionths of a second,” Duke Ferris, founder of the GameRevolution Web site, wrote recently. “It’s like trying to solve a million-sided Rubik’s Cube while it also spins at 10,000 r.p.m. And that’s for just one ‘fold.’ ”
So what separates humans from supercomputers in addressing such a complex undertaking? Forbes lists adaptivity, collaboration, self-organization and in the case of FoldIt, humans have spatial reasoning and love competition.
For a list of recent crowdsourcing examples, see SplinterNet blog.
And instead of wasting your time with Farmville, why not try some of those so-called serious games? Yes, that’s right. It’s that serious 🙂