Cornell College Events

Oh That's How Google Works!

Event Detail
Date: Friday, March 22nd
Time: 11:10 am-12:00 pm

"Imagine a library containing 25 billion documents, but with no centralized organization and no librarians. In addition, anyone may add a document at any time without telling anyone." This is the vision for which Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, designed their Google Search Engine. Faced with many challenges for building the site, certainly the fundamental question is how to effectively probe billions of documents and identify those that are most related to what you are seeking. All students are familiar with Google, but few would ever suspect that two undergraduate level math courses are at the basis of the Google algorithm. In Calculus II we learn the concept of convergence and how to apply it in practice. Similarly, in Linear Algebra we discover the practical utility of problems that can be formulated in terms of an eigenvalue problem. Both concepts are very important in their own right, however Page and Brin showed that it was possible to bring the power of both concepts to bear on their problem. When you enter a subject in Google's search bar there is an algorithm that searches their database for the most relevant matches to what you have entered. Intrinsic to this algorithm is an eigenvalue problem that is set up and inside of this problem is an iteration or sequence that must converge in order for the algorithm to yield useful output. This talk will not only reveal Google's surreptitious mathematical tools for finding the topics you desire when searching the web, but give insight into the life of a math graduate student and the employment opportunities for those interested in similar fields.

Location: Room: 203
Law Hall

Directions: Law 203 is on the second floor of Law Hall on the west end of the building

Jim Freeman

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