Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Research highlights

Technical Perspective: The True Cost of Popularity

The notion of popularity is prevalent within society. We have made charts of the most popular music and movies since the early part of the 20th century. Elections and referenda are primarily decided by who gets the most votes. Within computer systems, we monitor followers and endorsements in social networks, and track views, hits, and connection attempts in other networks.

Computationally, the problem of determining which items are popular appears at first a straightforward one. Given a dataset of votes, we can simply sort by the item identifier, then count up how many votes are assigned to each. When the number of votes is large, we might try to avoid the overhead of sorting, and aim to more directly pick out the most popular items with only a few passes through the data.


No entries found

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.