Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Search engine makes social calls

07.03.2002


New algorithm exploits community structure of the web.



The web has spontaneously organized itself into communities. A new search algorithm that pinpoints these could help surfers find what they want and avoid offensive content.

Page builders can link anywhere. But they don’t, Gary Flake, of the NEC Research Institute in Princeton, and his colleagues have found. Instead, pages congregate into social groups that focus most of their attention on each other.


Web directories compiled by hand, such as Yahoo!, recognize this to an extent. Flake’s team has automated the process. "We find extremely high-quality sites that Yahoo! and Google don’t know about," he says.

The new search ignores a page’s text, looking only at its links. It crawls from a starting page to others it links to, and so on out into the web, picking out islands of expertise in the sea of information.

A test of the algorithm starting at the home pages of biologist Francis Crick, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, and computer scientist Ronald Rivest yielded groups of sites that are tightly focused on each researcher’s life, work and field. "The sites are remarkably topically related - the clusters’ properties are completely intuitive," says Flake.

"You can extract a lot of meaning from links," agrees Mike Thelwall, who studies search engines at the University of Wolverhampton, UK. The new approach is, he says, a clever way to find meaningful groups among the effectively infinite number of ways to subdivide linked pages.

The first application of community searching may be to fence off areas of the web such as pornography or hate-speech communities, says Flake. Current content filters are largely text-based; these are easy to dodge and require intensive human management.

Community service

Google pioneered the use of links to deduce pages’ relevance. Its PageRank technology counts a link from site A to site B as a vote for B from A. But it does not take account of all the other sites to which A has links, as NEC’s new technique does.

Flake does not expect to displace the market leader - "Google’s a great search engine," he says. Rather, he wants to add an extra dimension to searching.

Using link structures could lead to more efficient, customized searching, particularly for scientists, who are careful to link to each other’s pages. "For academics it’s going to be a big improvement," says Thelwall.

Flake’s team is now mapping out communities in the web as a whole, without using a starter page. This could detect hitherto unsuspected communities, says computer scientist and network researcher Jon Kleinberg of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

"It could bring together people with common interests that may not know of each other’s existence. You could also catch the early stages of new trends," says Kleinberg.

References
  1. Flake, G. W., Lawrence, S., Giles, C. L. & Coetzee, F. Self-organization and identification of communities. IEEE Computer, 35, 66 - 71, (2002).

JOHN WHITFIELD | © Nature News Service

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Smart Manual Workstations Deliver More Flexible Production
04.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer HHI with latest VR technologies at NAB in Las Vegas

24.04.2017 | Trade Fair News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>