University of Washington

GS_Stories1sBusiness problem: 

Serious game used: 
Foldit (a game created by a University of Washington research team).

Summary: A team of researchers wanted to unlock the problem of protein folding (how do our bodies build proteins). Instead of posing this question in an obscure biochemistry forum, the team decided to crowdsource the investigation. They did this in the form of the serious game Foldit, which simulates the protein-building process. The purpose of creating the game was to encourage maximum responsiveness and quality of contribution in addressing the puzzle of the protein-building process.

The game was successful at getting people to participate; by channeling participation through a game, the UW team recruited 57,000 contributors. The innate competitiveness of the game motivated people to achieve the highest possible scores, which increased the value of many individual contributions. Foldit ultimately achieved its goal, identifying the algorithm that determines protein folding in the real world.

For more information…
Foldit web site
Center For Game Science entry about Foldit
Wikipedia entry about Foldit

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