ESON12 – ExSciTech – expanding volunteer computing

ExSciTecH: Expanding Volunteer Computing to Explore Science, Technology, and Health.
Michael Matheny, Samuel Schlachter, Lindsey Crouse, Edward Kimmel, Trilce Estrada, Marcel Schumann, Roger Armen, Gary Zoppetti and Michela Taufer

From the University of Delaware.

Volunteers have been mainly male with a background in computers, with a passive involvement. They want to increase involvement, both demographically and in engagement with the science.

Docking@home – working on the search for new drugs. Powered by BOINC. Want to involve volunteers to reduce the raw search space – involving gaming. Related work – Fold.it, Bossa, Luis von Ahn’s work.

They are using gaming to teach the volunteers the principles of the science. Then they build their own game jobs, depending on the specific disease context, for example. People can play together, against the scientist, or with the scientist.

Learning games reach volunteers without intimidating them. As players progress the game becomes more challenging. Molecule flashcards – players must identify or categorization molecules as they fly toward them. Do people learn more than paper flashcards? Do they enjoy the game more?measured time to complete, among correct, survey of enjoyment. Found they make more errors, but enjoy the game more.

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