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Gamers beat algorithms at finding protein structures

Gamers beat algorithms at finding protein structures
Today's issue of Nature contains a paper with a rather unusual author list. Read past the standard collection of academics, and the final author credited is... an online gaming community. Scientists have turned to games for a variety of reasons, having studied virtual epidemics and tracked online communities and behavior, or simply used games to drum up excitement for the science. But this may be the first time that the gamers played an active role in producing the results, having solved problems in protein structure through the Foldit game. According to a news feature on Foldit, the project arose from an earlier distributed computing effort called Rosetta@home. That project used what has become the standard approach for home-based scientific work: a screensaver that provided a graphical frontend to a program that uses spare processor time to solve weighty scientific problems. This is typically an energy minimization problem. Starting with algorithms, ending with brains

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A new blueprint for artificial general intelligence (stock image) Demis Hassabis, a research fellow at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London, is out to create a radical new kind of artficial brain. A former well-known UK videogame designer and programmer, he has produced a number of amazing games, including the legendary Evil Genius — which he denies selling to Microsoft, thus ruining a perfectly good joke. He also won the World Games Championships a record five times. But in 2005, he decided to move from narrow AI (used in his games) to a bigger challenge: creating artificial general intelligence (AGI). Gamers succeed where scientists fail Public release date: 18-Sep-2011 [ Print | E-mail Share ] [ Close Window ] Contact: Leila 206-685-0381University of Washington Gamers have solved the structure of a retrovirus enzyme whose configuration had stumped scientists for more than a decade. The gamers achieved their discovery by playing Foldit, an online game that allows players to collaborate and compete in predicting the structure of protein molecules.

Self-Assembling Molecules Like These May Have Sparked Life on Earth - Wired Science When his students successfully converted chemical precursors into an RNA-like molecule in the form of a yellow gel, Nicholas Hud scribbled down the surprising recipe. Image: Nicholas Hud For Nicholas Hud, a chemist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the turning point came in July of 2012 when two of his students rushed into his office with a tiny tube of gel. The contents, which looked like a blob of lemon Jell-O, represented the fruits of a 20-year effort to construct something that looked like life from the cacophony of chemicals that were available on the early Earth. To some biochemists, Hud’s attempts to find an evolutionary precursor to ribonucleic acid may have seemed a fool’s errand. The dominant theory to explain the origins of life — known as the RNA world hypothesis — regards ribonucleic acid as the first biological molecule.

Skynet meets the Swarm: how the Berkeley Overmind won the 2010 StarCraft AI competition We’re gathered in a conference room on the Berkeley campus, the detritus of a LAN party scattered around us. The table is covered with computers and pizza, and there’s a game of StarCraft projected on the screen. Oriol Vinyals, a PhD student in computer science, is commanding the Terran army in a life-or-death battle against the forces of the Zerg Swarm. Oriol is very good—one-time World Cyber Games competitor, number 1 in Spain, top 16 in Europe good. But his situation now is precarious: his goliath walkers are holding off the Zerg’s flying mutalisks, but they can’t be everywhere at once. The Zerg player is crafty, retreating in the face of superior firepower but never going far, picking off targets of opportunity and applying constant pressure.

Arcen Games, LLC - AI War Features "You are outgunned. You are massively outnumbered. You must win." Right on queue As the queues formed down the street outside branches of Northern Rock this week, it was obvious enough to a game theorist what was going on: people had decided to hunt rabbits. Bear with me – this will make sense in a moment. Game theory is the study (by economists, mathematicians, biologists and others) of situations where what you do may affect what I choose to do, and what I do may affect what you choose to do. The theory is big on catchy stories with memorable names, but ultimately it is all about mathematical representations of interactive decisions, called “games”. The most famous game of all is the “prisoners’ dilemma”, in which two prisoners must each decide whether to plea-bargain by giving evidence against the other. But another game, the “stag hunt”, languishes in relative and undeserved obscurity.

How Science Turned a Struggling Pro Skier Into an Olympic Medal Contender - Wired Science Steven Nyman is poised at the starting gate, alert, coiled, ready. A signal sounds: three even tones followed by a single, more urgent pitch, sending Nyman kicking onto the Val Gardena downhill ski course. He pushes five times with his poles, accelerating as quickly as possible, stabbing the snow frantically. He skates forward with abbreviated strokes, neon green boots moving up and down, his focus on building as much momentum as possible.

Duels of the Planeswalkers: All about AI i! Patrick Buckland here, CEO and owner of Stainless Games, the developer of Duels of the Planeswalkers. Last Wednesday, I wrote about the engine that drives Duels. In that article, I explained that the Magic engine is self-contained (separate from the user interface or any other code) and instance-based (you can have more than one of them at once). Seas Labs SEAS is the Synthetic Environment for Analysis and Simulations engine that enables researchers and organizations to try out their models or techniques in a publicly known, realistically detailed environment, but without the logistical problems associated with actually installing the system in a real firm. SEAS provides valuable interaction among researchers, between researchers and industrial users, and allows students to practice what is learned through a safe, controlled synthetic environment. This synthetic environment addresses the rapidly changing technology and academic culture - which makes it difficult for researchers to gain direct experience with the realities of an enterprise - and the isolation from the details of the real world of research in business decision-making - making it difficult for researchers to compare the effectiveness of different approaches.

The bacteria that turns water into ice Meet Pseudomonas syringae, a bacterium that causes disease in plants and helps make snow machines work. It all has to do with ice nucleation — the process that forms ice crystals in the atmosphere and, thus, snow. You probably know that raindrops and snowflakes form around something. There's always a central nucleus that serves as the backbone of the water molecule structure. Usually, when people talk about this process, they use soot or some other kind of particulate matter as the example of what a nucleus can be. Compendium of Useless Information : Games - The Games | The Difficulty of Difficulty Article by Kat? | September 29, 2008 There was a time when difficulty was the name of the game, the thing that made sure that kept gamers plugging quarters into those arcade machines. The patron saint of coin-ops everywhere blessed gamers with impossible jumps, waves of difficult enemies and a hell of a lot of bullets to dodge.

Parrondo's paradox Parrondo's paradox, a paradox in game theory, has been described as: A combination of losing strategies becomes a winning strategy. It is named after its creator, Juan Parrondo, who discovered the paradox in 1996. A more explanatory description is: There exist pairs of games, each with a higher probability of losing than winning, for which it is possible to construct a winning strategy by playing the games alternately. Parrondo devised the paradox in connection with his analysis of the Brownian ratchet, a thought experiment about a machine that can purportedly extract energy from random heat motions popularized by physicist Richard Feynman. However, the paradox disappears when rigorously analyzed.[1]