A colleague of mine, who I happened to get into a search engine talk with sent me this paper. Him being a Cornell alumni said the idea of "authority" and the concept of page rank to some extent first came from Cornell.

The rules differ a bit but this paper does help shed some light on what the purpose behind a search engine is and how the engine can accomplish their goals through the use of simple math.

Interested in your thoughts, read the pdf at http://www.cs.cornell.edu/home/kleinber/auth.pdf

It is a bit long, so you might want to print it out.