Interlinking your web pages to maximize their PageRank

December 16th, 2007

A post on the physics arXiv blog points to an interesting open access article, Maximizing PageRank via Outlinks, on how to structure your own web pages to maximize the PageRank scores they receive. The paper does not consider tactics for getting sites to link to your pages, but instead looks at how you can organize the internal link structure of your site to maximize your pageRank.

Cristobald de Kerchove, Laure Ninove and Paul Van Dooren, Maximizing PageRank via Outlinks, submitted to Linear Algebra Applications, 19 November 2007, arXiv:0711.2867v1 [cs.IR].

We analyze linkage strategies for a set I of web pages for which the webmaster wants to maximize the sum of Google’s PageRank scores. The webmaster can only choose the hyperlinks starting from the web pages of I and has no control on the hyperlinks from other web pages. We provide an optimal linkage strategy under some reasonable assumptions.

What is being optimized is the sum of the PageRanks for the pages in your site.

The optimal structure for your site is roughly this: organize your site as a linear chain of pages, each linking to the next in the chain and also back to each of its chain ancestors. The final node in the chain should be the only one that links to any node outside of your site, and it should link to just one outside page.

Online social networking as an academic discipline

December 16th, 2007

Today’s Washington Post has a story, About Facebook! Forward March!, on the many academic researchers who are studying blogs, social networking applications and all forms of social media.

“The race is on — to an extremely obscure wing of the ivory tower. Who will own the study of the social networking sites? Is it computer science or behavioral science? Is it neuropsychology or artificial intelligence? PhDs around the country are trying to figure out, in their esoteric and socially awkward way, how to get in while the getting’s good.”

The story focuses on Dana Boyd as an example of a young researcher who has achieved recognition that is quite remarkable for someone still in graduate school, largely because she was among the first to do good work on a hot new area.

While the article is interesting, it uses the academic politics frame, as in the famous “Academic politics is so bitter because the stakes are so low” bon mot.

“The culture of academia is like a land rush: professors poised around the edges of each new intellectual territory, waving flags emblazoned with theoretical frameworks, making frenzied dashes to stake claim on new topics, ready to shoot trespassers.”

The result, I think, will leave most readers with the impression that studying social media is faddish, self indulgent and without practical application.

The Semantic Web billion triples challenge at ISWC 2008

December 6th, 2007

The International Semantic Web Conference has held a Semantic Web Challenge since 2003. Each year, a special challenge theme is defined and groups are invited to submit papers describing applications or systems built to address the challenge. The entries are evaluated and a short list is invited to present demonstrations at the conference. Finally, a panel of judges selects he best ones which receive awards — both honorary and financial. It has become very popular and successful part of ISWC.

Jim Hendler and Peter Mika, the Semantic Web Challenge organizers for ISWC 2008, has a new theme focused on scalability.

“This is the first public pre-announcement of the Open Web, Billion Triples Challenge, which will be organized as a special track of next year’s Semantic Web Challenge. This track will be in addition to the traditional SWC competition and it will focus on pushing the limits in tool design on the fronts of scalability in size and robustness in the face of data typically found on the Web. The goal of the competition is also to generate new application ideas, i.e. to show what is possible with Web metadata today.
     The details of this Challenge are yet to be determined and we are calling on the Semantic Web community to help us in its formation. For this purpose we have set up a mailing list and would like to invite everyone interested in this new Challenge to join this list. The mailing list will serve to discuss the data sets and rules of competition, and later to disseminate all other information regarding the new Challenge.”

This is not your father’s Semantic Web.

UMBC seminar on Social Web Technologies

December 5th, 2007

A Computer Science special topics seminar on Social Web Technologies will be offered at UMBC this Spring and is open to both graduate and upper level undergraduate students. The course is CMSC 491s/691s and will meet MW 7:10-8:25pm. Enrolment will be limited. The instructor is Dr. Harry Chen, who received his Ph.D. from UMBC in 2004.

This seminar-style course will cover (1) how social web technologies such as blogs, social networking, social bookmarking, photo/video sharing and folksonomies can improve the productivity of people and (2) how to apply the latest Web technologies to create social web applications. For more information, see