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Utilizing quantum theory to improve upon PageRank

This article discusses a new technique to do a graph search in replacement of PageRank. PageRank is difficult to implement not because of its complexity but rather the sheer amount of web pages on the internet today. There are over 1 billion websites on the internet today, so you could imagine what a graph looks like with a billion nodes. The amount of processing power needed would be astounding. Assuming this massive network, it would be difficult to find the most efficient way to visit all of the nodes and edges. However, physicists have improved upon the random walk strategy by utilizing quantum physics. The searchers are subatomic particles which explore the graph in a random matter. However, there is interference between the particles that gives more insight than just randomness. The searchers are random, but they are also aware of the larger context. The end result was in some experiments they were able to match, if not exceed the performance of PageRank in evaluating the centrality of the nodes.

In class, we have talked a lot recently about PageRank and how it is used to rank webpages in a Google search. The idea of using quantum physics in fields other than physics is not new. It is still in its relative infancy but it is being used in other subfields such as maching learning, computing, processing, and more. It allows us to explore features of a topic outside the scope ever thought possible. The fact that it is able to outperform PageRank is many instances is promising, but there’s still a long way to go in even understanding what quantum physics even is.


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October 2017