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Playing online can mean more than killing time, thanks to a new game developed by a team of bioinformaticians at McGill University. Now, players can contribute in a fun way to genetic research. "There are some calculations that the human brain does more efficiently than any computer can, such as recognizing a face," explained lead researcher Dr. Jérôme Waldispuhl of the School of Computer Science.
"Recognizing and sorting the patterns in the human genetic code falls in that category. Our new online game enables players to have fun while contributing to genetic research -- players can even choose which genetic disease they want to help decode."
Beyond offering the general public an opportunity to get involved in this research, the game is also useful for teaching the next generation of genetics researchers about their field. "The precise genetic cause of most diseases is not known, but thanks to Phylo gamers, this research could be significantly improved," said Dr. Alain Denise, a Bioinformatics and Computational Biology researcher at the University of Paris-Sud 11
Luis von Ahn is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also received his Ph.D. in 2005.
Tasks like image recognition are trivial for humans, but continue to challenge even the most sophisticated computer programs.
This talk introduces a paradigm for utilizing human processing power to solve problems that computers cannot yet solve. Traditional approaches to solving such problems focus on improving software. I advocate a novel approach: constructively channel human...