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Entrepreneurs of my lifetime: Larry Page
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Internet entrepreneur, computer scientist. Born Lawrence Page on March 26, 1973 in East Lansing, Michigan. Page's father Carl was a pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence and his mother taught computer programming. After earning a bachelor of science degree in engineering from the University of Michigan, Page decided to concentrate on computer engineering at Stanford University, where he met Sergey Brin. After enrolling in a computer science Ph.D. program at Stanford University, Page was in search of a dissertation theme and considered exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web, understanding its link structure as a huge graph. His supervisor Terry Winograd encouraged him to pursue this idea, which Page later recalled as the best advice he ever got. Page then focused on the problem of finding out which web pages link to a given page, considering the number and nature of such backlinks to be valuable information about that page, with the role of citations in academic publishing in mind. In his research project, nicknamed "BackRub", he was soon joined by Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford Ph.D. student. John Battelle, co-founder of Wired magazine, wrote that Page had reasoned that the "entire Web was loosely based on the premise of citation โ€“ after all, what is a link but a citation? If he could devise a method to count and qualify each backlink on the Web, as Page puts it 'the Web would become a more valuable place'." To convert the backlink data gathered by BackRub's web crawler into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm, and realized that it could be used to build a search engine far superior to existing ones. It relied on a new kind of technology that analyzed the relevance of the back links that connected one Web page to another. In August 1996, the initial version of Google was made available, still on the Stanford University Web site. Page and Brin created a Google so that it listed results according to the popularity of the pages, after concluding that the most popular result would often be the most useful. They called the search engine Google after the mathematical term "Googol," which is a 1 followed by 100 zeros, to reflect their mission to organize the immense amount of information available on the Web.
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