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Online dating sites are thriving, and their methods are now so advanced that they match couples by using mathematical formulae.


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The internet has made many things easier, including dating, allowing us to interact and connect with a plethora of new people—even those that were deemed unreachable just fifteen minutes beforehand. Inside OKCupid: The math behind online dating talks about the math formula that is used to match people with others on the website OKCupid, the one website behind online dating. Christian Rudder, one of the founders of OKCupid, examines how an algorithm can be used to link Dating sites mathematics people and to examine their compatibility based on a series of questions. As they answer more questions with similar answers, their compatibility increases.

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You might not think that finding your true love and mathematics have much in common, however increasingly you would be wrong.

Just like the fact that more people are shopping online every year, more people are also dating online. This means that online dating is big business and consequently the sites that are best at helping people to meet their future partners are going to succeed in the market. This means that online dating sites need to have the best method for matching people and this is where the mathematics comes in.

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Assuming an online dating site has a large group of members, you need a way for people to be matched to others who they have a chance of being compatible with. Users are asked to input data into the site, typically answering questions about their likes, dislikes and hobbies. The search is then on to create the best algorithm which can use this data and match people successfully.

Different sites have different methods for matching people, but the American dating site OKCupid particularly likes to boast about its use of mathematics in order to match people. Because OKCupid is so convinced that their use of mathematics is what helps them to be successful, they are very open about their algorithm.

Some other sites might be more secretive about their methods, as they want to keep their competitive edge. OKCupid asks users to answer questions, giving three Dating sites mathematics for each question.

The maths of online dating

Users need to firstly answer for themselves, then state what they would like their future partner to answer. Finally they are asked how important the question is to them. There are four options Dating sites mathematics how important a question is to someone and the algorithm ass a numerical value to each answer. Alice Question 1: Do you like watching football on TV? Question 2: Are you a tidy person? OKCupid then take the two match percentages and calculates what is called the geometric mean.

For two s this means multiplying them together and taking the square root. The site therefore adds in another feature which incentivizes users to answer at least questions.

You might already be wondering about how effective the algorithm is and whether it could be improved. Some other sites use different tools such as GPS, where users are matched with other people who are geographically close to them. In the future there are going to be more and more jobs for people who can use maths in a smart way to improve the way people do things.

Instead of improving a dating algorithm you could be working for an online retailer making sure people are recommended the products which they like, or improving an app which helps people plan their next journey. If you like thinking in a logical, mathematical way, then maybe you would be interested in being a developer, software engineer or data scientist.

Teaching ideas and resources to support the learning of topics covered in this article can be found on the National STEM Learning website. Web de by Measured Des. Hit enter to search or ESC to close. Close Search.

How OKCupid use maths to match people. Question 1: Do you like watching football on TV? Love 1 Share Tweet Share. Tags algorithm algorithms careers advisor coding Competition Competition winners cymru data science gcse health machine learning music National 5 pi profile python square root statistics teacher teachers.

Joanna 29th June Eugene Kidwell 12th May Joanna 28th April Inclusion Teachers Cymru. A little important. Somewhat important.

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Very important. Wanted from partner.

A little. Importance score.