In most fields of scientific endeavor, the outcomes of important experiments are not always known before the experiments are performed. But in protein structure prediction, algorithms are usually developed and tested in situations where the answers are known. In December 1996, the Second Meeting on the Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP2) was held in Asilomar, California to rectify this situation: protein sequences were provided in advance for which the experimental structure had not yet been published. Over 70 research groups provided bona fide predictions on 42 targets in four categories: comparative or 'homology' modeling, fold recognition or 'threading', ab initio structure predictions, and docking predictions. Since the previous CASP meeting in 1994, the role of fold recognition in structure prediction has increased enormously with the largest number of groups participating in this category. In this review, we highlight some of the important developments and give at least a qualitative sense of what kind of methods produced some of the better predictions.