EVE Vegas 2015: Project Discovery gamifies scientific research


One of the problems facing some fields of scientific research is that there are often huge numbers of images to classify and analyse, and researchers just can’t keep up with the workload. Several labs have launched projects over the years that aim to get the general public’s help with this problem, such as the Galaxy Zoo project that asked the general public to visually classify galaxies. While machine learning has come a long way in recent years, the human brain is a powerful pattern-matching computer and real humans will always be useful for pre-classifying training images for the computer system.

Project Discovery aims to bring this powerful tool into EVE Online universe by turning the classification process into a game mechanic that makes sense within the EVE universe and lore. When the project goes live, the Sisters of EVE faction will begin offering people loyalty points for each image they correctly classify. Developers selected the Human Protein project as it fits with the EVE design and is altruistic in nature, supporting research into protein expression in cells that could have important consequences for research on a variety of diseases and genetic conditions.

Disclosure: In accordance with Massively OP’s ethics policy, we must disclose that CCP paid for our writer’s travel, accommodation, and ticket for this event along with several other members of the gaming press. CCP has neither requested nor been granted any control or influence over our coverage of the event, and the writer is paid exclusively by Massively OP for this work.
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