Ahsum Nimity is a distributed computing project much like SETI@home, which allows people to contribute computer power to search for patterns in data gathered by telescopes. The big difference: Ahsum Nimity allows players to contribute their brainpower to search for patterns in data gathered by scientists, much like the well- known ‘Foldit’ game asks players to fold proteins into their optimal configuration.
Rodo calls it ‘gaming with a purpose’. “Mankind spends over 3 billion hours per week gaming. We want to build awesome games and make the energy invested useful at the same time”, Willem Vervuurt (CEO of Rodo) explains the vision behind Ahsum Nimity. “Human brains are good at recognizing patterns and are highly motivated by rewards. That combination allows people to solve problems while having fun: a great way to improve the world.”
The game is a beautiful, all-Dutch production with handcrafted illustrations and specially composed music. The puzzles in the game consist of cities with invisible tunnels between them. As the cities change color in certain patterns, the goal is to discover which tunnels are intact and which are broken. “By solving these puzzles, players are collectively contributing to the development of knowledge models”, Steven Rekké (CTO of Rodo) adds. “Motivated by the rewards of the game, players consciously and subconsciously analyze the data presented to them. Based on their solutions, we try to develop knowledge models of the phenomena behind the data.”
The knowledge models are Bayesian Networks: a hot topic in the academic world because they can model knowledge in any domain. Among other fields, Bayesian Networks are being widely used in decision support systems, engineering, computational biology, bioinformatics, medicine, image processing, gaming and even law. To make a contribution to these fields, Ahsum Nimity needs thousands of active players. As the game is available at no charge for over 30 million iPad users worldwide, it seems to be just a matter of time for that number to be reached.
‘The Magic Portals of Ahsum Nimity’ was released November 21st, 2011, and is available in Apple’s AppStore on every iPad and through iTunes.
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We are located on the campus of Radboud University, Nijmegen (The Netherlands)