The early history of Foldit is a bit murky, but the Foldit news and other sources, such as the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, show the game had an "alpha" phase in 2007, with the "beta" phase starting 8 May 2008. (Yes, the game is still in "beta".)
Early new items refer to "game.bakerlab.org/portal" as the home of Foldit. Even earlier, the fold.it site seems to have been occupied by a British design firm, and then a blogger.
The annals are mixture of serious science and silly stuff. (And a few server siestas.)
There's also a moment of true sadness, the loss of someone who was probably everyone's favorite folder.
Here's a sampling of the players and groups from the earliest days of Foldit who are still active as the 10th anniversary approaches:
- Player spvincent joins 12 July 2007.
- Player TheGummer joins 9 May 2008.
- Group Another Hour Another Point formed 23 May 2008.
- Group Void Crushers formed 1 November 2008. (Or maybe re-formed, other sources point to an earlier date.)
Let the games beginEdit
Here are some highlights of Foldit through the years:
- Puzzle 1 opens 15 November 2007, closes 21 November 2007. No results reported on the puzzle page. Chris Carrico from the UW Biochemistry Department is reported as the winner. Chris goes on to win puzzle 2 as well.
- Puzzle 42 "Alpha Rabbit" opens 16 April 2008, closes 23 April 2008. Still no results on the puzzle page, but hey, rabbits. Adorable! LFB
- Welcome to Foldit! video posted 8 May 2008.
- Puzzle 50 opens 10 January 2009, closes 12 May 2008. Something is wrong with the start date, but this appears to be the first puzzle with results. Also group play is reported, with Void Crushers the one and only team. Soloist p66 takes the win, followed by mummiebrain and dissipate. TheGummer, playing for Void Crushers, is the only team player, finishing 7th.
- Group sharing is announced as a new feature, 29 May 2008.
- CASP 8 competition starts 10 June 2008.
- The Foldit wiki is created in July 2008 by Diderot (aptly enough).
- Soloists and evolvers annouced 26 July 2008.
- Duels are announced 22 September 2008. Duels are outlawed after the death of Alexander Hamilton.
- "All hands" puzzles announced 13 February 2009. These puzzles share the top five solutions every two hours for players to refine.
- Foldit t-shirt competition announced 8 April 2009.
- The first and only Foldit trophy is awarded to Boots McGraw, 5 April 2010.
- CASP 9 competition starts 5 May 2010.
- A Foldit contribution to CASP 8 is cited in the journal Protein. Read the article. Player Steven Pletsch and group Another Hour Another Point are the source of the cited solution. 7 June 2010
- Foldit is cited in a Nature article resulting in a lot of press coverage. The Register's "Human hive-mind game whups computer boffinry ass" probably wins for the best headline, although the sub-head "Science glory for 57,000 protein-origami Tetris players" is somewhat less flattering. Read the abstract. 4 August 2010
- A wave of new folders no doubt inspired by the Nature article, cause problems with the Foldit servers. 4 August 2010
- The overheated server room is explained in a blog post by Zoran Popovich. One of the many "perfect storms" to strike the Foldit server. 10 August 2010.
- The Attack of the Clones sparks changes in Foldit-land. 5 May 2011
- Tracks are introduced 26 May 2011.
- Electron Density puzzles are introduced 26 June 2011.
- Version 2 of the Foldit Lua interface announced 9 August 2011.
- The "Perpetual Motion Machine" achievement is added, with BitSpawn and Bletchley Park as the first two recipients. 29 August 2011
- Foldit published in Nature "Crystal Structure of monomeric retroviral protease solved by protein folding game players" gives a shout to Contenders and Void Crushers. Foldit players knocked off a protein that had baffled scientists for 15 years. Read the paper. The high volume of new users drawn by all the publicity causes problems for the Foldit server. 18 September 2011
- Symmetry puzzles are introduced 6 October 2011.
- Another Foldit paper is published in PNAS "Algorithm discovery by protein folding game players". Read the paper. 7 November 2011
- Cutpoints are introduced 30 December 2011.
- Yet another Foldit paper "Increased Diels-Alderase activity through backbone remodeling guided by Foldit players" is published in Nature Biotechnology. Read the abstract of the paper. 22 January 2012.
- Seth Cooper receive's the ACM's Dissertation award for his PhD thesis, announced 02 May 2012.
- The announcement of Foldit's 4th Birthday officially puts the start of play at 08 May 2008.
- Kinect version of Foldit announced 17 September 2012.
- Foldy 9000, an intelligent in-game assistant, renders human players obsolete 1 April 2013.
- Bletchley Park renders human players obsolete, 19 April 2013.
- Galaxie reaches #1 on both the soloist and evolver boards, 12 August 2013.
- New Chapter announced 9 January 2014, causing some degree of consternation.
- New Chapter changes include the introduction of wiggle power. 27 January 2014
- Foldit Remote Control announced 25 February 2014.
- Foldy Protein game announced, rendering Foldit obsolete. 1 April 2014.
- The passing of Auntdeen announced 29 September 2014.
- Puzzle 1000 "Breach Ebola's Defences!" launches 18 October 2014.
- Puzzle 1000 results are discussed in blog post 15 January 2015.
- CASP 11 results for Foldit are announced 28 January 2015.
- Tony Origami becomes the first "Thermodynamic Lawbreaker", completing one hundred million moves, 4 June 2015.
The future is in your hands!