A Brief Explanation of Protein Folding

Today Google DeepMind announced that their deep learning system AlphaFold has achieved unprecedented levels of accuracy on the “protein folding problem”, a grand challenge problem in computational biochemistry.

What is this problem, and why is it hard?

I don’t usually do science reporting here at The Roots of Progress, but I spent a couple years on this problem in a junior role in the early days of D. E. Shaw Research, so it’s close to my heart. Here’s a five-minute explainer.

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