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Interactions of cultures and top people of Wikipedia from ranking of 24 language editions

“Wikipedia is a huge global repository of human knowledge, that can be leveraged to investigate interwinements between cultures. With this aim we apply two methods, Markov chains and Google matrix, for the analysis of the hyperlink networks of 24 Wikipedia language editions, and rank all their articles by PageRank, 2DRank, and CheiRank algorithms. Using automatic extraction of people names we obtain the top 100 historical figures for each edition and for each algorithm. We investigate their spatial, temporal, and gender distributions in dependence of their cultural origins. Our study demonstrates not only the existence of skewness with local figures, mainly recognized only in their own culture, but also the existence of global historical figures appearing in a large number of editions. By determining the birth time and place of these persons, we perform an analysis of the evolution of such figures through 35 centuries of human history for each language, thus recovering interactions and entanglement of cultures over time. We also obtain the distributions of historical figures over world countries, highlighting geographical aspects of cross-cultural links. Considering historical figures who appear in multiple editions as interactions between cultures, we construct a network of cultures and identify the most influential cultures according to such network.”

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