Patent cross-citations used to predict new technology clusters

Patent cross-citations used to predict new technology clusters: This sounds a bit like PageRank for patents:

Érdi’s team have written software that not only charts this evolution, but also hits the fast-forward button on the rate and type of citations to help predict whether existing technological fields can combine or diverge to create new areas of innovation.
“Patent citation data seems to be a gold mine of new insights into the development of technologies, since it represents the innovation process,” says Érdi. They tested their algorithm on old data from the US Patent and Trademark Office’s “agriculture, textiles and food” category of inventions and found that it predicted the emergence of a field recently created to cover nonwoven textiles - fabrics whose fibres are squeezed or forced together, often using solvents as bonding agents.