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Erik Olsson (Lund): “Linking as Voting: Condorcet-style Theorems for the World Wide Web”

18 May 2016, 5:30 pm7:00 pm

Abstract: A webmaster’s decision to link to a webpage can be interpreted as a “vote” for that webpage. But how far does the parallel between linking and voting extend? In the talk I will provide several “linking theorems” showing that link-based ranking tracks importance on the web in the limit as the number of webpages grows, given independence and minimal linking competence. The theorems are similar in spirit to the voting, or jury, theorem famously attributed to the 18th century mathematician Nicolas de Condorcet. I will argue that the linking theorems provide a fundamental epistemological justification for link-based ranking on the web, analogous to the justification that Condorcet’s theorems bestow on majority voting as a basic democratic procedure. I will also look at various ways of incorporating a bias for linking to what other people link to into the model.

Erik J. Olsson is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at Lund University. This talk is based upon his recent paper, “Linking as voting: how the Condorcet jury theorem in political science is relevant to webometrics“.




18 May 2016
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
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LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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