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AcademicInfluence.com Unveils ML Technology for Ranking the World’s Top Colleges and Influential Thought Leaders

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What worries today’s prospective college students most? Topping the list are two life-altering decisions they don’t want to flub: selecting the right college and choosing the right major.

For students, finding a trusted source for college and degree information to make those huge decisions means sifting through websites that rank colleges without giving users a clear sense for the data, algorithms, and formulas that generated those rankings. In the end, a question lingers: Are these options really the best?

Students need a trustworthy, science-based means to measure genuine excellence. Now they can find it at https://AcademicInfluence.com

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“AcademicInfluence.com uses machine learning and search routines to evaluate the real-world influence of noteworthy individuals, institutions, and other rankable entities,” says Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of AcademicInfluence.com and professor of physics at Wake Forest University. “Never before have inquirers had such a customizable, objective, online tool for discovering the people and institutions that are changing our world. While there is no limit to what can be ranked with our Influence Engine technology, the AcademicInfluence.com website will focus on meeting the needs of students, with rankings of the world’s top colleges and most influential thought leaders. Look for sites that explore other topics using our Influence Engine soon.”

Founded in October 2016, with funding assistance from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Influence Networks—now part of the EducationAccess group—created proprietary, real-time technology that maps lines of influence through constantly updated data repositories online, including Wikipedia and Crossref. Because they consist of billions of open-sourced, crowd-edited data points, these databases result in analysis that resists being gamed or undermined by single-source editorial bias.

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“Our results aren’t spin, promotion, or paid advertisement but instead reflect true, objective, real-world influence,” says Macosko. “The objectivity of AcademicInfluence.com stands in stark contrast to major ranking sites that typically gather data by faculty survey, student opinions, and an over-reliance on self-reporting—all of it at least a year out-of-date before it can be used to derive rankings. The difference at AcademicInfluence.com is enlightening.”

With its interactive search and Custom College Match tools, AcademicInfluence.com offers students the capabilities they need to find the answers they want. The site also delivers influence rankings to researchers exploring the most authoritative voices in a gamut of disciplines and over time.

AcademicInfluence.com puts to rest the question of the best. And it does so by the best means possible: science. When coupled with the influence of individual choice, it’s a powerful combination.

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