Dr. Clark – How We Applied Google’s PageRank to Chemistry (8:37)

Posted on by Abby Johnson |

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While the value of Google’s PageRank algorithm is very high in the Internet world, a recent report found it to be valuable in the area of chemistry as well. Associate professor at Washington State University Dr. Aurora Clark and a team of colleagues from the University of Arizona came to the conclusion that PageRank could be used to predict chemical reactions.

WebProNews spoke with Dr. Clark, who explained that the team focused on water molecules but replaced the websites in the PageRank formula with molecules. By doing this, they were able to determine molecular shapes and chemical reactions. The team’s software is called MoleculaRnetworks, since it is written in the language “R.”

Dr. Clark told us that this research could be applied to “multiple disciplines.” Particularly, she said it could be used in drug designs, protein discoveries, and, of course, her area of specialty – toxic wastes.

WPN reached out to Google to get its response to the paper and received this statement from Amit Singhal, Google Fellow and Senior Vice President:

“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.”

Dr. Clark said hearing this response from Google made her “off the wall, bonkers happy.”

The research is being funded by the Department of Energy and is intended to be used in a wide variety of ways.

What other areas can you envision Google’s PageRank algorithm being used in? We’d love to know.

Posted in: Open Source, Page Rank, Research, Software
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