You are no stranger to the [email protected] set up, I presume. If you are a proud owner of a PlayStation 3, then you are probably participating in this awesome project right now. Even if you do not have a PS3, you might have heard of this project, which makes use of spare computing power of individuals who have PS3s. The project’s aim is to utilize all the computing power that researchers can lay their hands on. When PS3s are running online, they can be hooked up to the network and be used to continuously do research on cures for diseases such as cancer.
Now how about taking this concept one step further, and actually throwing in human brain power into the equation? This is the idea that the people behind the video game Foldit have in mind. On the surface, Foldit is just like any other 3D puzzle game. Video game players have to work out these puzzles to score points. The more complex the puzzles and the faster you solve them, the more points you get.
But it doesn’t stop there! Underneath the surface, you can get so much more; say, a cure to cancer? Or maybe AIDS? That explanation is simplified to the bare essentials, but that is the main idea. By working out these puzzles, scientists may be able to gain more insight on protein folding, which is essential to understanding how diseases such as cancer and AIDS work. And if they actually glean these insights, a cure may be on the horizon. Exciting, to say the least, eh?