Google search helps track cancer spread

The equations search engine Google employs to predict the Web pages its users visit has inspired a new way to track the spread of cancer cells in the human body.
“Each of the sites where a spreading, or metastatic, tumour could show up are analogous to Web pages,” said Paul Newton, a mathematician at University of Southern California.
Google ranks Web pages by the likelihood that an individual would end up visiting each one randomly. These predictions are based on the trends of millions of users across the Web, the Live Science reported. It uses the “steady state distribution” to calculate the probability of someone visiting a page.
“You have millions of people wandering the Web, [and] Google would like to know what proportion are visiting any given Web page at a given time. It occurred to me that steady state distribution is equivalent to the metastatic tumour distribution that shows up in the autopsy datasets,” Newton said.
The referred dataset contains information about autopsy patients from the 1920s to the 1940s, who died before chemotherapy was available.

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