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 Putting food-safety detection in the hands of consumers
15.11.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

nachricht Next stop Morocco: EU partners test innovative space robotics technologies in the Sahara desert
09.11.2018 | 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: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>