Wednesday, May 14, 2008

GWAP: Games With A Purpose

This is an interesting site I stumbled accross the other day. I am not sure how I found it, I just know that I found it and that is all that matters. GWAP is a site with games. In actuality it only has about 5 games. WHAT?! Why is that cool? I could find a site with a million games if I wanted. Yes, you could, but... could you find a site with a million games with a purpose? That's right, GWAP stands for Games With A Purpose. These games aren't just some silly flash arcade game like shoot the asteroids with a triangle (not that that game isn't sweet). The purpose of these games is to help computers learn and categorize like humans do. Basically, you play the games and the computer learns from the decicions you make. I'll be honest, the games aren't amaaaaaazingly fun, but that isn't the point is it. The point is to be amazingly purposeful and somewhat fun too.

So, what are the computers learning from us? As a simple example, think of a search engine. When you type in a word and ask it to give you all the images associated with that word, sometimes the computer makes bad decisions. In all truthfulness, the computer isn't making any decisions at all. Its simply following protocol which is to find all images with that word in it or related to it. So what one or more of the GWAP games do is teach the computer how certain images are related to words. If the GWAP team can get a large enough sample of game data, they can use it to help the computers that are used for search engines to make better decisions when bringing back search results. Hopefully, this project will make search engines better. That was just an example of one thing the project is doing but I think you catch the drift. Anyway, check it out. Its kind of fun.

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