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PageRank useful in determining ecosystem collapse

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 04, 2009

In addition to its utility in organizing the World Wide Web, researchers say that Google’s PageRank algorithm is useful in studying food webs, “the complex networks of who eats whom in an ecosystem”.

Dr Allesina, of the University of Chicago’s department of ecology and Evolution, told BBC News: “First of all we had to reverse the definition of the algorithm. “In PageRank, a web page is important if important pages point to it. In our approach a species is important if it points to important species.”

The researchers compared the performance of PageRank and found it comparable to that of much more complex computational biology algorithms.