Milestone-Proposal talk:The PageRank algorithm and the birth of Google, 1996-1998

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Advocates and reviewers will post their comments below. In addition, any IEEE member can sign in with their ETHW login (different from IEEE Single Sign On) and comment on the milestone proposal's accuracy or completeness as a form of public review.

Submission and Approval Log

14 November 2023 -- submitted. 29 November 2023 -- History Committee approval

-- Administrator4 (talk) 14:31, 18 September 2023 (UTC)

Title and Citation as originally submitted

The PageRank Algorithm and the Birth of Google, 1996-1998

Invented in 1996, the PageRank citation algorithm was the basis of the search engine that launched Google’s founding in 1998. PageRank interprets hyperlinks as referrals, posits that a high-quality page should have high-quality pages providing referrals, and produces useful ranking scores for all indexed pages. This recursive quality evaluation technique became widely adopted by other search engines, as well as social networks, peer-to-peer systems, and numerous other services.

Advocates’ Checklist

  1. Is proposal for an achievement rather than for a person?
  2. Was proposed achievement a significant advance rather than an incremental improvement to an existing technology?
  3. Were there prior or contemporary achievements of a similar nature?
  4. Has the achievement truly led to a functioning, useful, or marketable technology?
  5. Is proposal adequately supported by significant references (minimum of five) such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books? At least one of the references from a peer-reviewed scholarly book or journal article. The full text of the material, not just the references, shall be present. If the supporting texts are copyright-encumbered and cannot be posted on the ETHW for intellectual property reasons, the proposers shall email a copy to the History Center so that it can be forwarded to the advocate. If the advocate does not consider the supporting references sufficient, the advocate may ask the proposer(s) for additional ones.
  6. Are the scholarly references sufficiently recent?
  7. Is proposed citation readable and understandable by the general public?
  8. Does the proposed plaque site fulfill the requirements? Is the address complete? Are the GPS coordinates correct and in decimal format?
  9. Is the proposal quality comparable to that of IEEE publications?
  10. Scientific and technical units correct? (e.g. km, mm, hertz, etc.) Are acronyms correct and properly upperercased or lowercased?
  11. Date formats correct as specified in Section 6 of Milestones Program Guidelines?,_Plaque_Locations

Reviewers’ Checklist

  1. Is suggested wording of the Plaque Citation accurate?
  2. Is evidence presented in the proposal of sufficient substance and accuracy to support the Plaque Citation?
  3. Does proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement?
  4. Were there similar or competing achievements? If so, have the proposers adequately described these and their relationship to the achievement being proposed?

Milestone Advocate Review -- Bberg (talk) 16:13, 14 November 2023 (UTC)

I am the Advocate for this Milestone. When I proposed the idea of this Milestone to a friend who had just joined Google Cloud, she put me in touch with what ended up being an excellent technical team that was intimately familiar with both the underlying history of, and technical details of, Google's search technology. With my input about what a good Milestone proposal needs to include, they have followed through and provided a well-constructed and detailed discussion of the PageRank algorithm that led to Google's success. The proposed citation succinctly discloses how PageRank operates. I fully support this proposal and the achievement that it documents.

Brian Berg, History Committee member

Expert Review #1 from David Gleich -- Bberg (talk) 16:22, 14 November 2023 (UTC)

David Gleich accepted my request that he be an Expert Reviewer for this proposal, and here is his statement of support as received on Mon, Nov 13, 2023 at 6:16 PM PST:

"The background information lays out the important contributions that PageRank made to web search. This is done both in terms of computational and mathematical details. All of the material is appropriately and accurately cited, and contextualized in terms of relevant references from the era. The information lays out both the conceptual and technical hurdles that demonstrate how Google and PageRank created a new state of the art in web-search quality. It also discusses the impact these innovations had over the next decade."

David also confirmed the proposal's positive adherence to the Reviewers' Checklist.

David Gleich is a Professor and University Faculty Scholar in the Computer Science Department at Purdue University, and his research is on novel models and fast large-scale algorithms for network analysis. He is committed to making software available based on this research, an example being his software package MatlabBGL which has thousands of worldwide users.

Dr. Gleich has received a number of awards for his research, including a SIAM Outstanding Publication prize (2018), a Sloan Research Fellowship (2016), an NSF CAREER Award (2011), and the John von Neumann post-doctoral fellowship at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, CA (2009).

David wrote a 2015 highly-cited journal article surveying the diverse uses of Google’s PageRank beyond its origins in ranking web-pages. In addition, while working at Yahoo! Research Labs in 2004, he wrote a parallel computation of Google’s PageRank, and worked on privacy preserving PageRank algorithms at Intel in 2005. His PhD thesis at Stanford University was titled “Models and Algorithms for PageRank sensitivity.” Dr. Gleich’s research has been funded by the NSF, DOE, DARPA, IARPA, and NASA.

Expert Review #2 from Soumen Chakrabarti -- Bberg (talk) 16:31, 14 November 2023 (UTC)

Soumen Chakrabarti accepted my request that he be an Expert Reviewer for this proposal, and here is his statement of support as received on Tue, Nov 14, 2023 at 12:41 AM PST:

"PageRank pioneered the use of hyperlinks in Web search. It triggered years of innovation in graph assisted search and ranking algorithms. Therefore, I strongly support that PageRank be recognised as an IEEE Milestone."

Dr. Chakrabarti also confirmed the proposal's positive adherence to the Reviewers' Checklist, with this additional comment about point #3 (Does proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement?): "Yes, with the understanding that technology shifts start with some innovation, but are perfected by many others."

Further, Dr. Chakrabarti confirmed the proposal's adherence to point #4 (Were there similar or competing achievements? If so, have the proposers adequately described these and their relationship to the achievement being proposed?) with this comment: "The most prominent competing invention was Kleinberg's contemporaneous HITS work, which seems adequately covered in the section titled Contemporary work on link-based ranking algorithms."

Soumen Chakrabarti is a Professor of Computer Science at IIT Bombay. He works on linking unstructured text to knowledge bases, and exploiting these links for better search and ranking. Other interests include link formation and influence propagation in social networks, and personalized proximity search in graphs. He has published extensively in WWW, ACL, EMNLP, NeurIPS, ICML, AAAI, IJCAI, SIGKDD, VLDB, SIGIR, ICDE, and at other conferences.

Dr. Chakrabarti won the best paper award at WWW 1999, was co-author on the best student paper at ECML 2008, received the Bhatnagar Prize in 2014 and the Jagadis Bose Fellowship in 2019, and his work on keyword search in databases received the 10-year influential paper award at ICDE 2012. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked on Clever Web search and Focused Crawling at the IBM Almaden Research Center. He has also worked at Carnegie-Mellon University and at Google.

small citation edit -- Amy Bix (talk) 22:03, 21 November 2023 (UTC)

The citation reads nicely, I think, except that it jumps between first sentence in past tense, second sentence in present tense, then jumps back to last sentence in past tense. To stay historically minded, and to be consistent, I recommend rewriting the second sentence in past tense as follows: "PageRank interpreted hyperlinks as referrals, posited that a high-quality page should have high-quality pages providing referrals, and produced useful ranking scores for all indexed pages."

Re: small citation edit -- Najork (talk) 18:41, 27 November 2023 (UTC)

I changed the second sentence to past tense.