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What You Should Know / February 29, 2012 -- Around the same time, one of the graduate students funded under the NSF-supported DLI project at Stanford took an interest in the Web as a "collection." The student was Larry Page. Page uncovered the missing links, so to speak, in Web page ranking. His evolutionary leap was to recognize that the act of linking one page to another required conscious effort, which in turn was evidence of human judgment about the link's destination. Individually, each link was a simple but effective tool. But collectively, millions of these links provided a key adaptation for the natural selection of search results. Page was soon joined by Sergey Brin, another Stanford graduate student working on the DLI project. (Brin was supported by an NSF Graduate Student Fellowship.) Together, Page and Brin constructed an ambitious prototype in their Stanford student offices. The equipment for the prototype, called BackRub, was funded by the DLI project and other industrial contributions.

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