Sunday, July 13, 2014

PageRank and Capitalism

If you don't already understand PageRank, this post isn't for you.

If you do, turn your head sideways and squint at it. What does that look like to you?

To me, it looks an awful lot like capitalism.

But there's a great big difference: the Damping Factor.

In PageRank the damping factor keeps any one node in the graph from falling to 0 value, which is important because the whole point of PageRank is to get an ordered set from an otherwise unorganized graph.

Let me say that a different way: when you don't know what's important in a graph, PageRank can give you a pretty good first approximation, but it won't work if you allow nodes' values to drop to zero. The edges (links) in the graph are performing a service: they're telling you what's important, what's worth paying attention to, so even if nobody points to a node, it's worth giving it a little value, so it can vote on what else in the graph is important.

Sounding familiar?

I'll write more about this later, but you can probably guess the gist of it: something about a guaranteed minimum income...