A couple weeks ago, we reported on Washington State University chemistry professor Aurora Clark, who is applying the Google PageRank concept to water molecules to determine molecular shapes and chemical reactions “without the expense, logistics and occasional danger of lab experiments.”
When asked about the whole thing, Google Fellow Amit Singhal told WebProNews, “Our goal in search is to help people expand their knowledge of the world, and we’re delighted to see that our PageRank algorithm is being used to do just that with this innovative and efficient molecular research method.”
As explained in the original announcement about this initiative:
In living things, water can perform key functions like helping proteins fold or organizing itself around the things it dissolves so molecules stay apart in a fluid state. But the processes are dazzlingly complex, changing in fractions of a second and in myriad possible forms.
Much like the trillion-plus Web domains on the Internet.
Google’s PageRank software, developed by its founders at Stanford University, uses an algorithm—a set of mathematical formulas—to measure and prioritize the relevance of various Web pages to a user’s search. Clark and her colleagues realized that the interactions between molecules are a lot like links between Web pages. Some links between some molecules will be stronger and more likely than others.
In the video above, Clark shares a bit about the inspiration and process in which PageRank is being applied to chemistry.
Pretty interesting. What do you think?