Another good year for gamers who help scientists

It's been a good year for video gamers--and not just the epic legions of Call of Duty fans enjoying Modern Warfare 3.

A few months after Foldit players helped decode the structure of a protein key to the way HIV multiplies, another group of gamers taking on DNA sequencing in the game Phylo have contributed more than 350,000 solutions, the game's designers at McGill University report.

When University of Washington researchers unveiled Foldit in 2008, it wasn't clear whether the protein-folding game would be a one hit wonder. But one-year-old Phylo, already averaging 1,000 eureka … Read more

Scientists pleasantly 'shocked' by skills of Foldit gamers

It's not every day that a news item details the intelligence of the masses, lurking in the brains of unassuming passersby, just waiting to be uncovered for the greater good. But when it comes to the massively multiplayer online game Foldit, this is precisely the story, and it keeps getting better.

Launched in 2008 at the University of Washington, the protein folding game first made news for its potential to use the collective brainpower of gamers everywhere to unlock the fundamental mysteries of certain diseases. Then gamers began to prove this potential, solving various protein riddles that further our … Read more

This Day in Tech: Google Wallet launches

Too busy to keep up with today's tech news? Here are some of the more interesting stories from CNET and elsewhere for Monday, September 19.

• Google Wallet launches today, but you probably can't use it yet. The digital wallet is available for the Samsung Nexus S on the Sprint Nextel network. The wallet uses near-field communication to allow you to pay with your mobile phone. "In the future, our goal is to make it possible for you to add all of your payment cards to Google Wallet, so you can say goodbye to even the biggest traditional … Read more

Foldit game leads to AIDS research breakthrough

In 2008, University of Washington scientists released the game Foldit, hoping a sort of critical mass of gamers would mess around with proteins and, in the process, uncover some of their intrigue. (We have more than 100,000 types of proteins in our bodies alone.)

Last year, we checked in on the project's progress, and principal investigator Zoran Popovic said that some 60,000 people worldwide had taken on the challenge. Popovic hoped the initial results his team reported on last year would convince those on the sidelines that scientific discovery games could actually lead to important breakthroughs.

Well, … Read more

Play game to fight AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer's

Remember SETI@home? It enables people to put their spare computer cycles to work in discovering intelligent life beyond Earth. (And with election season coming to an end, it's pretty clear that not much is left here.) The SETI project is a pretty cool and relatively simple computer task.

Inversely, things like mapping protein folding, which is essential to understanding how a particular protein works (and thus helping to target it with drugs), can be a very hard problem for computers but not so hard for humans. If someone could make it easy for communities to contribute to mapping … Read more