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Networked Life by Mung Chiang

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5 When can I trust an average rating on Amazon?

In this and the next three chapters, we will walk through a remarkable landscape of intellectual foundations. But sometimes we will also see significant gaps between theory and practice.

5.1     A Short Answer

We continue with the theme of recommendation. Webpage ranking in Chapter 3 turns a graph into a rank-ordered list of nodes. Movie ranking in Chapter 4 turns a weighted bipartite user–movie graph into a set of rank-ordered lists of movies, with one list per user. We now examine the aggregation of a vector of rating scores by reviewers of a product or service, and turn that vector into a scalar for each product. These scalars may in turn be used to rank order a set of similar products. ...

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