Tag Archives: Research

My first paper published under Creative Commons!

Page-reRank: Using Trust to Re-Rank Authority
Time ago I received the request to republish one of my paper in the book “Internet Search Engines – An Introduction“. So I took the chance to extend my paper “Page-reRank: using trusted links to re-rank authority” from 4 to 10 pages and cordially give permission to include it in the book.
The publisher is ICFAI University Press which of course is not Oxford Press; it is an publisher for Indian Universities and in fact after publishing I received few emails from Indian students.
Anyway what I’m more proud of is that I have a Creative Commons released paper published on a book! When they asked me to publish it, I put this as condition and they said “yes”. Since I tried many other times to amend the copyright form publishers ask you to sign before publication (in general it basically says “you give us all the rights”) with something a bit more liberal such as a Creative Commons license, I’m very happy about this, about the license.
Page-reRank: Using Trust to Re-Rank AuthorityThe license is a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License so you can legally do whatever you want with the paper as long as you cite me and share what you produce with the same license.
Anyway in the book I’m in good company: there is also a paper by Prabhakar Raghavan, head of Yahoo! Research “Using PageRank to Characterize Web Structure” and one by Ricardo Baeza-Yates, director of Yahoo! Research labs at Barcelona “Pagerank Increase under Different Collusion Topologies”.
This post is also an excuse for starting my blog on Nature.

Following there is the summary of my paper as it appears on the book, but you can also download the paper from my site.

The tenth article titled “Page-reRank: Using Trusted Links to Re-rank Authority” by Paolo Massa, highlights that the present HTML linking mechanism does not allow the author of a web page to express the endorsements of its content. Consequently, algorithms like PageRank produce rankings that do not capture the different intentions of web authors. The authors explore the possibility of adding simple semantic extensions to the hyper linking mechanism, by using a large real world data set and demonstrate the different page rankings produced by considering extra semantic information in page links. The paper concludes that by adopting (programming) languages that allow authors easily encode simple semantic extensions to their hyperlinks, the web (or search) intelligence can be optimized to pull relevant pages for a given search query.

Blogging on Nature: why not?

Some months ago I was asked to open a blog on Nature. I’m in a period of small mood for blogging, so I postponed the idea of opening the blog on Nature until now.
Partially I was also wondering about some questions such as “Wow! A blog on Nature! How does it count? I’ll probably never have a paper in Nature but a blog yes. So what? How many blogs there are at the moment on Nature? A quick check says around 80. Uhm. This is not so exclusive. Will I insert it in my curriculum? Probably not. Does a blog counts as a paper? Surely not. Maybe things will be different in future? For sure, but not too different”.
Anyway, if 10 years ago somebody would have told me “one day, you will blog on Nature!”, I would have replied “No bet!” … well, actually 10 years ago the word “blog” was still to be proposed (the term “blog” was coined by Peter Merholz in April or May of 1999 according to the Blog page on Wikipedia as it is today) so maybe the reply would have been more a “I will do what?!?”.
Nevertheless, blogging on Nature is surely about new ways of doing research and of publishing your ideas so I’m in the game.
My blog on Nature is at http://network.nature.com/blogs/user/paolo-massa, the plan for now is to repost and possibly extend some posts related to trust and society I post at gnuband.org, for the future I guess we’ll see.

Jacob Moreno: an amazingly mad visionary

I’m reading “The Autobiography of J.L. Moreno” (actually I’m reading the Italian translation “Il profeto della psicodramma” because this is what I found in the local library) and Jacob Moreno was really an amazingly mad guy. I looked for something of him because Moreno is often cited as the first one studying social networks (in 1930s) and hence doing social network analysis.
Well in the autobiography he states that he was feeling he was God since the age of 5. Gosh. And through all its life he was convinced to be God and to live like God. Amazing. Not an ordinary person, eh? Moreno is in fact an amazingly prolific person, father of psychodrama, father of sociodrama, father of role training, father of sociometry, father of group psychotherapy. (In Wikipedia there is the List of people known as the father or mother of something, how good would be to end up in that list sooner or later, eh?) but also with an incredible life, creating hospitals for animals, religions, refusing to be paid as a doctor, meeting Hitler, Freud, Einstein, etc, I cannot resume it, you really have to check his autobiography!
The image on the left shows an an attraction network in a Fourth Grade Class from a paper by Moreno (note that triangles are males and circles are female, or vice versa, I don’t remember precisely).
Let me conclude this post with two excerpts from “Il profeta della psicodramma” (translated from Italian into English by me, I apologize already) but I suggest you to read his entire life in the book.

People researching interactions that don’t start their work with an analysis of the spontaneous-creative matrices of their experimental projects are like architects trying to convince you that an house can be built without foundations.

Our goal was to prepare almost 50.000 people as sociometrists to be sent in every area of America life and also abroad with the goal of creating a new democracy, in which, citing our introductory declaration “every member of these groups will be taught by means of sociometry to understand that a genuine leaving democracy cannot be accomplished unless it is based on the science of actual relationships working at interpersonal level and among groups existing and functioning under the surface of institutions, laws, courts and the different cultural agencies inside them.”

The “nature”al social network for researchers

After reading this article on the Guardian introducing it as the Facebook for professors, postdocs and PhDers in the sciences, I decided to spend some minutes and creating an identity on Nature Network. Here is my profile on Nature Network.The goal is to get people from different institutions and different research fields to talk to one another about the thing they have in common: a love of science. Check the flash quick tour video.
The article quotes Frank Norman saying

One of the nice things is the absence of markers to indicate status. When you read a contribution, you don’t know whether it is from a professor or a student, you just judge it by whether it makes sense.

It is interesting how Guardian stresses this “democratic” aspect of the Web, very wikipedian, very everyone-is-an-expert. It obviously totally resonates with me. In fact, on the other hand of the scope

One lecturer, who does not want to be named, says the scientific community is concerned that Nature Network and other Facebook-style academic communications could be “dangerous” because comments are not peer-reviewed.

Interestingly the more everything we do becomes digital, the more it seems everyone is concerned in measuring it:

Dr Timo Hannay, director of web publishing at Nature Publishing Group, predicts that scientists who post comments, blogs and data from experiments on sites like Nature Network will eventually be allowed to count these as part of their research output. “There should be a way of measuring the impact of a scientist who posts comments on a site like Nature Network. These could be added to their publishing record”.

And Matt Brown adds

Our vision for Nature Network is that every scientist in the world will have a personal profile on the site. Likeminded people and potential collaborators could then be easily found through a tagging system. Ideas can be discussed in the forums. Who knows, many years from now, traditional activities such as writing an academic paper could be peer-reviewed online.

And the article closes with the usual oh-gosh-some-more-content-to-monitor information overload fear:

Some see it another way. “If sites like these can increase awareness of research and provide easier ways to forge collaborative links, that is good,” says Brown. “If they provide more text that needs to be read, digested and responded to, that might not be so good.

By the way, you can check my profile on Nature Network and, if you are in there as well and read this, connect to me, friend me, or do how-they-call-it-on-Nature to me. I’m waiting. Somehow.

UPDATE: I created a group called “Trust Research” on Nature. Join in.