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Name That Child Computationally

A new study outlines how the Google PageRank algorithm is used to choose a name for a new child. In accord with mathematicians’ traditional practice, the study does not explicitly name the name of even one child:

Lead author Folke Mitzlaff, who does not reveal how his own first name was chosen.

Recommending Given Names – Mining Relatedness of Given Names based on Data from the Social Web,” Folke Mitzlaff and Gerd Stumme, arXiv:1302.4412, February 18, 2013. (Thanks to investigator Mason Porter for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the University of Kassel, Germany, explain:

“All over the world, future parents are facing the task of finding a suitable given name for their child…. The present work tackles the problem of recommending given names, by firstly mining for inter-name relatedness in data from the Social Web. Based on these results, the name search engine “Nameling” was built… We also show, how the gathered inter-name relationships can be used for meaningful result diversification of PageRank-based recommendation systems.”

This graph illustrates how PageRank figures into the process:

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