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Web Structure vs Other Networks We Know

Article of reference: “The Structure of the Web” by Jon Kleinberg and Steve Lawrence


The article, “The Structure of the Web” by Jon Kleinberg and Steve Lawrence, pulls in the reader by pointing out how there are many networks out there, but the web is possibly one of the most peculiar ones. While there are man-made structures like the electric power grind and telecommunications, the web is a network that is inadvertently made by humans and connects billions of pieces of information. 

The authors proceed to speak on how the web is unorthodox in many ways compared to other networks we know. It has four components, called core, upstream, downstream, and tendril regions, where paths between pages, or “nodes”, behave differently depending on the region. One key oddity, is that unlike real life communities, the more focused regions of the web tend to be more nonuniform. However, thanks to the regular arrival of new web pages all the time, researchers are able to analyze the web network to further cater to human needs. For example, web communities have “signatures” to better categorize pages and improve search engines. 

Learning about web structure has really intrigued me when it comes to thinking about previous things we have learned in Networks. Just like how we have had in-class and homework examples of relationships between people or groups of people, websites act much in the same way. For example, the strong triadic closure example with the farms and the town, was a good example in helping me understand how distance and accessibility affects relationships. Farms close to each other and mutually close to the town had strong connections and farms further away from each other had weak or no connections. The web is very much the same, in that a specific website can have links that connect pages that only pertain to that website (like the farms on the same side of a town), whereas the core region of the web can access many other “nodes” (like the town and its surrounding farms). 

The key difference to consider is the behavior of web regions. Unlike one side of a town, where you would expect the farms to all have connections with one another, a more focused region in the web can be more intricate than other regions, according to Kleinberg and Lawrence. This is peculiar to me, especially since the article states that researchers are still learning about this concept all the time. I hope to one day be able to contribute to the factual knowledge we have on this complex system.


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October 2019