10 algorithms that rule the world

By | 27.04.2016

It is unlikely that anyone will underestimate the value today of algorithms in our daily lives. Algorithms surround us on all sides, they find us, and in the offices of banks, and on dating sites. However, some of them play a much more important role than the others: only ten algorithms actually run the world today.

1. Google Search
undisputed leader of the hit parade — the «great and terrible» Google search engine that indexes all the world. It would seem that more recently some major search engines fought for a place in the market. But Google with its innovative algorithm for calculating PageRank links credibility was the most efficient and accurate search engine and occupied a dominant position. On the Google accounts, according to various estimates, a little less than 80% of search queries in the world, and he leaves far behind all the other international search engines, including Yahoo, Baidu, Live and Russian «Yandex». For most users, the Internet is Google today acts as the gate to the World Network.

The patented PageRank algorithm works in conjunction with the automatic search robotami- «spiders» and uses a huge list of keywords and web addresses. The basic idea is simple: the more important the page and more popular, the more it is carried out on the links from other sites. On the basis of the quantity and quality of hyperlinks pointing to a particular page, the algorithm estimates the «importance» of the page, and the site itself, and outputs it to an appropriate level in the issuance of search results. But it is not just a popularity contest: is used in the calculation of the importance and weight of other parameters, including the frequency and location of keywords on a page and the duration of the existence of such a page.

2. Feed Facebook News
You may be surprised, but the news feed Facebook has become one of the main places on the Internet where people from many different countries are willing to sit for hours. You can consciously choose an option to view all the messages from all of your friends in chronological order. In all other cases, your tape will be formed according to their own algorithms Facebook, and you will see it only that these calculations would be necessary.

The criteria for selection of content for the demonstration are a number of factors, including: the number of comments, the status of «importance» of the author’s post, as well as the message type — photos, videos, status updates, repost, and so on. The algorithm selects and «recommended» the posts of those until you have no friends.

3. Dating
Network dating sites — one of the oldest businesses on the Internet, and it is not surprising that, according to some estimates, today is a multibillion-dollar business. Such international sites like Match, eHarmony and OKCupid, annually expand its audience by 3.5%, and, according to experts, this trend will continue in the next five years.

Perhaps someone will doubt the effectiveness of such, but couples who have found each other through such sites, enter into a much more successful marriages than others. The secret lies in the fact that the special algorithm calculates the compatibility of the partners, based on a variety of factors, including work, interests and hobbies, and other masses, not the most obvious at first glance the details.

For example, one of the founders of free dating site OKCupid was a mathematician at Harvard University, Christian Rudder, and on his Web site applies strictly analytical approach, based on the information from the user. In addition to a simple comparison of interests, the algorithm weights the degree of importance of each question to the user and to his potential partner, and this makes OKCupid one of the most successful sites of this type.

4. Data collection, interpretation and encryption in the security services
behind us increasingly observed not human beings, and algorithms. Thanks to Edward Snowden has become common knowledge that the National Security Agency (NSA) and its colleagues around the world are engaged in constant surveillance of millions of unsuspecting citizens. The now publicly available documents show the existence of many monitoring programs, in particular co-operated «Five Eyes» — the union of the security services of five English-speaking countries: USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Electronic systems automatically by algorithms to monitor phone calls, emails, images from Web cameras and GPS data.

Tellingly, in the NSA’s claim that does not collect personal information. According to the instruction 1982, «information is considered to be» collected «only when it is obtained for the use of members of the intelligence unit of the Defence Ministry in the execution of his duties.» «Data obtained by electronic means are considered to be» collected «only when they are converted into intelligible form.»

That is, according to the NSA, you collect the book only when you are viewing them. However, the algorithms are closely related to humans, and the fact that some people can at any time to get acquainted with the accumulated by electronic means of tracking data suggests that the covert surveillance of each may begin at any time, including any date in the distant past: it is enough just to raise the «uncollected» data and translate them «in an understandable form.»

Finally, it is worth mentioning a special cryptographic algorithms created for encryption and data protection.

5. this product also bought …
Customers online stores, browsing and buying some products, certainly faced with the ad unit, we suggest to familiarize with some other products that are relevant to making a purchase. Such units often appear under the headings «this product also bought …» or «You may also like …».

As with any automated process, this function is a familiar online shopping also has its advantages and disadvantages. In some cases, it can be really helpful, but in the other — completely unnecessary. For example, if you bought a gift your child a toy or lingerie girlfriend, the personalization algorithms will continue to be hard to offer you the teddy bears and panties instead of, for example, a wristwatch that you really are interested in.

These algorithms form the phenomenon that Eli Parayzer called «bubble filter» (filter bubble), when users are isolated from all of the information does not correspond to their previously expressed views. It can be as cultural, political, and consumer «bubble» like the above. Any sites begin to display only the information that is consistent with the past history of surfing, and no alternative views a user no longer sees. This results in an «information determinism» when browser history creates our future. Sounds horrible, is not it?

The Google the AdWords 6.
the Google the AdWords — an algorithm similar to that described in the preceding paragraph. Internet giant analyzes your search history and surfing, as well as the content of your Gmail and on this basis shows a suitable contextual advertising, which should be potentially interesting for you. And if, for example, the Facebook network for obvious reasons difficult to manage to monetize this scheme, then Google AdWords algorithms — is the main source of income.

7. Algorithmic Trading
special algorithms have long been used in financial markets to predict the rate changes, but today these technologies have been widely used, and on the stock markets: they were called «algorithmic trading» or «high-frequency algorithmic trading.» This kind of automated trading algorithms using bots, able to make decisions in a split second. For comparison, a person to assess the situation and respond to it, requires a minimum of one second.

As a result, live traders are increasingly being replaced by programs that, however, are imperfect and can also make mistakes. The famous story — «market crash» on May 6, 2010, when just a few minutes of trading, the Dow Jones index fell immediately into a thousand points. The final collapse of the causes have not been announced, but some experts believe that the reason algorithms quote stuffing, can automatically generate up to 5000 requests per second, instantaneously zamusorivaya system.

8. The audio compression algorithm MP3
Various data compression algorithms play a huge role in today’s digital world. We want to get information quickly without excessive investment in the expansion of channels and the acquisition of a more capacious hard drives.

For example, back in 1991, the company Cisco Systems has developed CRTP protocol that allows you to compress audio and video data for transmission of traffic in real-time networks. And in 1994 the efforts of engineers from the German Fraunhofer Institute appeared on the most common psychoacoustic sound compression format today, MP3, allowing approximately an order of magnitude decrease the audio file sizes while maintaining good audio quality. It is this codec was one of the driving forces behind the dramatic changes that have occurred since then in the music industry.

This algorithm has not yet rule the world, but, obviously, the wait is very long. More and more police departments in the United States, Canada and some other countries use test for about four years, the system of Criminal Reduction Utilising Statistical History (CRUSH) , designed to predict the time and place of a possible commission of crimes in the future. This software package is actually copied the idea, Beat, in a science-fiction movie «Minority Report» ( «Minority Report»).

More in 2010 Memphis Police Department began using CRUSH system, which has reduced the number of serious crimes by 30%, including reducing by 15% the number of violent crimes compared with 2006. The project attracted the attention of other cities and even countries: CRUSH interest shown in Poland, Israel and the UK. Currently, pilot projects CRUSH launched in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and Charleston.

CRUSH system works on the principle of «big data» analysis of massive amounts of accumulated over several years of data on various crimes using specialized algorithms. All this allows a sufficiently high probability to predict the possibility of committing specific crimes in certain areas at certain times of day, and effectively prevent them. In the future, these systems will be able to track the movement of known criminals in real time, including using drones, receive and recognize GPS data biosignatures analyze messages to the Internet and «sifting» of data streams in all other means of communication.

10. Avtotyun
conclude our review of the joke, which, as usual, there is some joke. Avtotyun technology developed at the time by Antares for computer processing of votes and monophonic (mono) tools, wins all bόlshuyu popular with singers and musicians all over the world. Its meaning is «pulling» phony-sounding audio to its closest semitone, depending on the set parameters (Major / Minor, hard, soft and discreet handling and so on. N.).

The first popular song, which was used avtotyun considered «Believe» American singer Cher, and this effect is intentionally made deliberately hard.

Not to be confused with avtotyun vocoder, which is designed to encode and decode voice and which may be, in particular, and analog. Avtotyun deals only with digital signals, able to work in real time and can even change the duration of the note, do not meet the necessary parameters tone. However, if a person came to the bear’s ear, then it does not help even hard avtotyun.

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