The Traveling Salesman is a new puzzle for the iPhone. The object of the game is simply to find the shortest route between a set of cities, visiting each city once and returning to the starting city. In game are presented cities from each of the 50 states. Each state has four levels of difficulty for 200 puzzles in total.As I read the blurb it struck me that for any computation where you need to find a viable solution to NP-complete problems you could map the concrete problem you need to solve into a suitable on-line game, possibly disguising the problem somewhat, and have the faceless millions go at it mechanical turk-style, picking what is at any given time the best solution that has been discovered.
That is, if you succeed in making the game interesting enough and succeed in getting mass adoption.
I am sure I am not the first person to think of this and I will no doubt be bombarded with links of clever projects who have found ways to do this in a systematic manner to broad classes of problems. Nothing would please me more.
If I am mistaken in this assumption I do hope that someone would explore the subject further and that this someone is not averse to the idea of actually writing code rather than just make the idea an object of dull academic masturbation.