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Networks

artwork based on “Molecular” typeface by Mithila Shafiq
Spring 2014

Google ranking molecules

When Aurora Clark likened water molecules to webpages, and the hydrogen bonds that connect them to hyperlinks, she knew she was onto something. As she thought about it on a larger scale, billions of water molecules began resembling the World Wide Web. And where else could Clark, an associate professor of chemistry, turn to make sense of such a vast network?

Google, of course.

By adapting Google’s PageRank to determine how molecules are shaped and organized, Clark started her journey of importing concepts from computer science into her work in chemistry. First she used Google, but recently Clark has employed digital mapping principles and ideas … » More …

Spring 2009

The webs we weave

 

Every time you board a plane, turn on a light, or chat with a neighbor, you become part of a network: the air traffic system, the power grid, the pool of possible victims of a virus.

To Sandip Roy, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Washington State University, and his graduate student, Yan Wan (’08 Ph.D.), such networks have a lot in common. They’re all composed of distinct points, with every point connected, directly or indirectly, to every other point. Like a spider web, if you pluck one strand of the network, the whole web jiggles.

By devising mathematical equations … » More …