O.R. and searching the internet

One of my recent blogs was discovered by someone searching the internet with Google.  I can't say that I am proud that their key words included "sex" and "Devon", when I was actually writing about correlation.
It reminds me that the Pagerank algorithm used by Google has some links to graph theory.  Some of the details are public, but there are numerous refinements which are commercial secrets.  But in the context of O.R., there are multiple objectives for any search tool.  The software engineers want the search to be reliable and appropriate, so that users continue to use their tool.  Advertisers want to be highly ranked, and this may not be what the user needs.  Users want speed, so the algorithm may not be quite as thorough as the theoreticians would like.  So there are compromises.  Sometimes the search does not work properly, because there are exceptions to the rules that were assumed. 
Sometimes we find that there are exceptions to our assumptions in O.R.!  Hopefully, we learn from them.


  1. Since your title mentions both Devon and OR, and OR is known to be sexy (http://mat.tepper.cmu.edu/blog/?p=1357), the Google hit makes sense to me. :-)


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