Hi everyone! My name is Chelsea Okon, and I will be presenting my MAT 480 seminar on Wednesday March 24th at 2:10. To join, please use the Zoom link that will be provided in an email. I hope you can attend! Here is a quick introduction as to what I will cover in my presentation:

What day of the week is Christmas on this year? Find me the best recipe for a birthday cake. Millions of results pop up in mere fractions of a second. Where would we be today if it wasn’t for the Google search engine? The Google search feature plays such a prominent role in daily life that “google” has officially become a verb, being included in the most prominent English dictionaries. As crazy as it is to imagine, once upon a time, there was no such thing as “googling” something. The only Internet search algorithms of the time were solely text-based, which led to very frustrating results.

Luckily for us, two students at Stanford University recognized this problem, and came up with a solution. They created PageRank, an algorithm that assigns each web page a rank, and then displays the results according to their rank. Who would have thought that a mathematical algorithm would have led to the multi-billion tech giant we know (and love) today? Each page’s rank is calculated based on the number and authority of other web pages that provide a link to it. In my presentation, I will be demonstrating how this algorithm works, and provide simplified examples as to how a web page’s rank is calculated. I will also explain a typical problem that can be encountered, and how the algorithm accounts for and fixes it. Although many other factors have begun to play a role in Google’s ranking of web pages (in particular paid advertising), a version of PageRank is still utilized by Google today. Having knowledge of search engines and ranking systems in general is a very useful skill, particularly for businesses. I will discuss some of these prominent applications of ranking systems.

Having prior knowledge of matrix properties, dynamical systems, as well as linear algebra would be beneficial, however having these skills is not necessary to still enjoy the presentation. I really hope that you will attend my seminar, and leave feeling as though you learned something new and interesting!