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Google's PageRank Predicts Nobel Prize Winners 101

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that's-a-little-strange dept.
KentuckyFC writes "The pattern of citations between scientific papers forms a network that has remarkable similarities to the network formed by the web. So why not use Google's PageRank, the world's most effective search algorithm to rank these papers in the same way it ranks websites? That's exactly what a couple of US researchers have done for physics papers published by the American Physical Society since 1893 (abstract). The results make interesting reading because almost all of the top ten papers resulted in (or were linked to) Nobel Prizes for their authors. Which means that studying the up-and-coming entries on the list ought to be a good way of predicting future winners. Better get your bets in before the bookies get wind of this."
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Google's PageRank Predicts Nobel Prize Winners

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  • Re:bets? (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:37AM (#26547383) Journal

    They take bets about this kind of thing?

    Um, yeah, you would be surprised what offshore betting brings to the internet. My friend had money that Obama would say "Always bet on black" for his opening speech (paid 700:1) and that he would use the word 'banana' in his speech (paid 800:1). He lost them both. He also bets on every play during football games, especially returns. And he also bets on how long the national anthem lasts at the beginning of each game.

    I wish I could link you to the site but it's hard to get to.

    You may be able to say that there is always someone willing to quote you a line for anything anytime as long as they get a cut/rake.

  • No Kidding (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jeff Hornby (211519) <jthornby.sympatico@ca> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @11:45AM (#26547545) Homepage

    The algorithm for Google PageRank is based on the concept of citations from academia. If I remember correctly, the software was originally meant only to index academic papers and eventually grew to index the whole internet. So its not surprising that it predicts winners so well (depending on how much the Nobel committee weights citations in their decisions).

  • Re:No Kidding (Score:5, Informative)

    by elguillelmo (1242866) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @12:55PM (#26548703)

    The algorithm for Google PageRank is based on the concept of citations from academia

    Quoting from the original paper: "It is obvious to try to apply standard citation analysis techniques to the web's hypertextual citation structure. One can simply think of every link as being like an academic citation. So, a major page like http: will have tens of housands of backlinks or citations pointing to it" [L Page, S Brin, R Motwani, T Winograd. The pagerank citation ranking: Bringing order to the web ].

    the software was originally meant only to index academic papers

    That's not right. From the same original paper:
    "PageRank is a global ranking of all web pages, regardless of their content, based solely on their location in the Web's graph structure "
    Anyway you are right, and the article's idea sounds way too old: probably an example of two research communities (physics & citation analysis) not knowing too much of each other

  • Re:winners bias? (Score:2, Informative)

    by godrik (1287354) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:40PM (#26549401)
    No they are not. So it is possible that their papers have been cited after being nobel prize. From what i understood of the paper, this index is basically weighted citation index which considers how many references do an article cite and recursively (with exponentially decreasing weight).
  • by spikenerd (642677) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:00PM (#26549771)
    There's a tool [] that tries to create a network of reviews, rather than just citations. In this case, the reviewer actually specifies the level of endorsement, whereas citations can mean anything. One of the most common reasons to cite a paper is to say "Our idea is way better than this lame idea", or "These guys did something similar, but it comparatively sucked". Sometimes the worst implementations get cited the most because they are so easy to improve upon. Why should that build up a paper?

... when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. -- Fred Brooks