Foldit is not just a game, but a contribution to science as well! The concept behind foldit is based on proteins that are found in plants and animals (including humans). These proteins will fold themselves into certain ideal shapes that allow them to interact with the human body. However, because many proteins are so complex, it is hard to determine the ideal shape. This is where Foldit comes in. The game poses the player with several proteins, and it is up to the players to see if they can find the most efficient way to fold it up based on real biological rules.
By presenting these proteins as puzzles to human players, the creators of Foldit hope to supplement their computer-based tests with the skills of human problem solving, and possibly even find new ways to optimize programs that determine protein folding patterns. This can have benefits ranging from understanding how the human body works to treating or even curing diseases.
The game allows players to fold alone, work with others' solutions (known as evolvers), or form groups to work together. There are also high score tables for groups, solo players and evolvers.
This program was created by programmers and engineers at the University of Washington, including members of the UW Center for Game Science and the UW Department of Computer Science and Engineering.