Archive for the ‘Powerlaw’ Category

Follow up: Google bombs and the autonomy of search engine vendors

Montag, Januar 30th, 2006

In my entry on Google bombs on 11/19/2005 I raised the following question:

“How will governments react to such movements of altering the search results in an unfavorable way in the future as knowledge becomes more important? How will search engine providers react? The easiest way to approach this would be to influence or enforce rules on search engine vendors. Hence, we could ask whether search engine providers need to be kept as autonomous as central banks with respect to knowledge?”

Well, as of 1/25/2006 we got an answer to this when reports on Google’s self-censored search engine for China came out. However, as a other reports show, censorship also exists in other countries like Germany or France for certain terms. So in fact there is a need to watch developments in this regard carefully…What do you think or propose?

Related articles:
Harvard Law School, Berkman Center for Internet & Society
NY Times on Google and China search engine version
Wired on Google and their geolocations on searches
NY Times on Google and Privavcy
Newscientist on China and Google search
Washington Post on Geolocator

Virtual Stock Markets - Proving the Powerlaw?

Donnerstag, Dezember 22nd, 2005

Social relations between individuals can be complex systems. How the structure of social networks impacts the behaviour of a system has been researched recently. These are i.e. power grids, neural networks, the World Wide Web or stock markets. Although different in the underlying interaction dynamics or micro-physics, all these networks have shown a tendency to self-organize in structures that share common features. In particular, the number of connections, for each element, or node, of the network follow a power law distribution. Networks that fulfill this property are referred to as scale-free (SF) networks M. Bartolozzi, D. B. Leinweber1, A. W. Thomas. (2005).

I would like to draw your attention to 2 projects which are using the power law in a direct and indirect way. First, there is the use of virtual stock markets to improve market research. Second, a recent project concerning blogs and virtual stock markets (VSMs) tries to proove the existence of powerlaw.

VSMs aven been applied in the form of a political stock market to predict the outcome of US presidential election in 1988 at the University of Iowa. The results of these studies demonstrate that the predictions outperform opinion polls in terms of forecast accuracy. Furthermore, the results of political stock markets show that VSMs can perform well even if their participants are not a representative sample. The reason is that VSMs elicit the participants’ assessments of the market outcome and a rational participant should not trade according to individual preferences, but according to the prediction of the market outcome based on the overall preferences of market participants. Thus, the decision is based on the most common features an individual anticipates in the market (powerlaw). More virtual stock market research is in this area is currently underway by an international research team (Martin Spann (U Passau), Gerrit van Bruggen (EU Rotterdam), Ely Dahan (UCLA) and Gary Lilien (U Penn)). Although it is more focused on business and market research some outcomes might be useful in other research areas.

BlogShares is the exploration of an emerging social network. Blogs are valued by their incoming links from other blogs. A blog is defined as a company and links become the main source of value in the VSM. Players speculate on thousands of blogs by buying and selling shares or rather the shifts of attention within the network. Blogshares claims to have proven the powerlaw which is in this case that 20% of the blogs contain 80% of all incoming links.