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I sometimes marvel at how much mental energy and reasoning skills I put into the computer games I play with my three and four year old sons. Now some real gamers ‘playing’ a simulator specially designed for the purpose have managed to solve in 10 days a problem in AIDS research that’s vexed scientists for more than a decade.

“People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at,” said Seth Cooper, co-creator of Foldit (the simulator) and a researcher at UW Department of Computing Science and Engineering. “Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans.”

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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