Pagerank is Google's name for the broader technology that made it the search giant that it is today. What would happen if you applied that idea to chemistry, though?
The Atlantic reports on the work of Aurora Clark, an associate professor of Chemistry at Washington State University, who's using the Pagerank system — or, to be more strictly accurate, the concept behind the Pagerank system, because Google doesn't just give the keys to the castle away for nothing — to develop moleculaRnetworks, a system of determining the linkages between molecules; this means they can simulate molecular shapes and chemical reactions, without the expensive (and potentially hazardous) chemical reactions taking place. The research paper that Clark and her colleagues have prepared concentrates on the hydrogen bonds found in water. The report quotes Clark as stating that
"We take PageRank, and we say that two water molecules are like two Web pages, and that their hydrogen-bonding interaction is like a hyperlink. And then we map that onto millions and millions and millions of water molecules. And from that we get a picture of the entire water network. …from that connectivity, and that network picture, we can actually predict chemical activity."