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Could Quantum Mathematics Shake Up Google?


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Pedro Carpena, a physicist at the University of Malaga in Spain, has used a mathematical technique for studying disorder in quantum systems to extract keywords from a book. Carpena's research suggests that the random matrix theory could improve Internet keyword searches. Carpena used the random matrix theory to determine the importance of words in a document based on where they appear, rather than on how often they occur. He says that important words tend to be found in the same paragraph or page as the author develops the idea, while less important words such as "and" and "but" are more evenly distributed throughout a document.

Carpena tested the mathematical technique on Albert Einstein's "Relativity: The Special and General Theory," and found that "universe," "field," "gravitational," and "energy" were among the top 10 keywords in the book. He is now testing the approach on the human genome to determine whether it can help analyze genes.

University of Washington computer scientist Oren Etzioni says the research needs to be tested further. "Often great discoveries are made when techniques from one discipline are tried in another," he says. "This is potentially very promising, but they're wading into a crowded field."

From New Scientist
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