Friday, July 29, 2005

Propagating trust paper

Yahoo Research recently redesigned their website, spurring me to take a peek over their recent publications.

A bunch of interesting papers up there, but I wanted to comment on one of them, "Propagation of trust and distrust" by Guha et al.

The paper is about predicting how much people will trust other people in a large social network, a large social network like, say, Yahoo 360.

The basic idea is similar to the TrustRank paper in that trust and distrust are propagated out across each connection in the network to predict trustworthiness of nodes across the entire network. One difference is that the Guha et al. paper is focused on predicting "trust between any two people in the system with high accuracy", not just a global measure of trust.

Applications at Yahoo are numerous. I could imagine trying to apply it to finding authoritative and trustworthy reviews in Yahoo Local and Yahoo Shopping, determining the reputation of sellers in Yahoo Shopping and Yahoo Auctions, and discovering useful weblogs in My Yahoo.

By the way, Prabhakar Raghavan is one of the co-authors of the paper. Prabhakar Raghavan was CTO at Verity and was recently poached by Yahoo to head Yahoo Research.

Thanks, Ravi Kumar, for pointing me to a copy of the paper.

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