LQ placeholderMaking six degrees of separation a reality

Making six degrees of separation a reality

Developing a mathematical theory of how trust trees grow and how we can traverse them to exploit trust corridors in society for searching.

Trust is a keystone for industry and society. It accelerates transactions in business and it ensures matched standards between seekers and providers. But web search engines are not effective at finding individuals based on trust, such as workers, partners and service providers.

In this project we formulate and build a trust-based search engine that combines technological efficiency with the human inclination towards trust. It recursively harnesses the trusted contacts between individuals to build and track trust corridors: trust between two people based on a pathway of trusted connections between them. Using branching stochastic processes, we develop a mathematical theory of how trust trees grow and how we can efficiently traverse them. We then build an incentivized search engine based on these insights.

By harnessing multiple individuals’ knowledge of their contacts, trust-based search navigates complex social networks to turn six-degrees of separation into a reality. Searching on the basis of trust will help businesses recruit the right workers and citizens choose the right doctors, tradesmen and professional services.