A discussion of methods for searching networks for particular vertices or items, a process important for web search and peer-to-peer networks, and for our understanding of the workings of social networks
Chapter 4 showed examples of networks that have information stored at their vertices: the World Wide Web, citation networks, peer-to-peer networks, and so forth. These networks can store large amounts of data but those data would be virtually useless without some way of searching through them for particular items. So important is it to be able to perform fast and accurate searches that the companies that provide the most popular search services are now some of the largest in their respective industries — Google, Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis — and constitute multibillion dollar international operations. This chapter examines some of the network issues involved in efficient searching and some implications of search ideas for the structure and behaviour of networks. Exercises are provided at the end of the chapter.
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