Mathematics of Web science: structure, dynamics and incentives

. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences (2013)


Dr Chayes’ talk described how, to a discrete mathematician, ‘all the world’s a graph, and all the people and domains merely vertices’. A graph is represented as a set of vertices V and a set of edges E, so that, for instance, in the World Wide Web, V is the set of pages and E the directed hyperlinks; in a social network, V is the people and E the set of relationships; and in the autonomous system Internet, V is the set of autonomous systems (such as AOL, Yahoo! and MSN) and E the set of connections. This means that mathematics can be used to study the Web (and other large graphs in the online world) in the following way: first, we can model online networks as large finite graphs; second, we can sample pieces of these graphs; third, we can understand and then control processes on these graphs; and fourth, we can develop algorithms for these graphs and apply them to improve the online experience.

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