MORE SUCCESSES OF NONSCIENTISTS HELPING WITH LABOR-INTENSIVE SCIENCE. I have posted several times in the last six years, including here, on the use of “Foldit”, an online videogame with over 50,000 registered users, to bring the efforts of large numbers of nonscientists to work on problems relating to modeling protein molecules. This article by Josh Hrala on the sciencealert website (link via Instapundit), describes yet another success for Foldit users. They recently beat trained scientists in a competition to see who could complete an accurate model of the protein YPL067C by interpreting electron-density maps. Hrala quotes a participant: “We think this is a big deal because interpreting an electron-density map can be a labour-intensive, error-prone process – and we show that crowd-sourced Foldit players can do it as well as, or better than, professionally trained crystallographers,”
It is thought that the gamers ‘experience in working together gave them an an advantage.