Stanford Offers Course Overviewing Roots of the Google Algorithm

March 23, 2016

The course syllabus for Stanford’s Computer Science class titled CS 349: Data Mining, Search, and the World Wide Web on provides an overview of some of the technologies and advances that led to Google search. The syllabus states,

“There has been a close collaboration between the Data Mining Group (MIDAS) and the Digital Libraries Group at Stanford in the area of Web research. It has culminated in the WebBase project whose aims are to maintain a local copy of the World Wide Web (or at least a substantial portion thereof) and to use it as a research tool for information retrieval, data mining, and other applications. This has led to the development of the PageRank algorithm, the Google search engine…”

The syllabus alone offers some extremely useful insights that could help students and laypeople understand the roots of Google search. Key inclusions are the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and PageRank, the algorithm named for Larry Page that enabled Google to become Google. The algorithm ranks web pages based on how many other websites link to them. John Kleinburg also played a key role by realizing that websites with lots of links (like a search engine) should also be seen as more important. The larger context of the course is data mining and information retrieval.


Chelsea Kerwin, March 23, 2016

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