Meeting your mate used to be a matter of random chance. Cupid's arrow either hit or missed. But online dating has put Cupid out of business as individuals have become their own matchmakers, sending witty bios and edited pics far and wide in search of love. And rather than random chance, there are sophisticated mathematical calculations behind each online dating match. These calculations are called algorithms and use sophisticated calculations of variables like education, religion and marital history to determine matches for online dating services.
Pepper Schwartz's algorithm
Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist at the University of Washington at Seattle, developed one of the first algorithms in online dating for PerfectMatch.com. According to the "New York Times," her system uses variables similar to the Myers-Briggs psychological test and then uses a mathematical probability calculation to match daters with similar variables. As many online dating services, PerfectMatch.com is secretive about the specific mathematics of its algorithms, and its does not submit its results to scientific review.
Helen Fisher's algorithm
Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, designed an algorithm for Chemistry.com that uses variables that are linked to different brain chemistry traits as well as psychological and sociological variables, according to the "New York Times." Her algorithm uses statistical mathematics to determine if you are an "Explorer," a "Builder," a "Director" or a "Negotiator." Algorithmic mathematics are then used to match potential daters with either their own or compatible types.
Galen Buckwalter's algorithm
Psychologist Galen Buckwalter devised the algorithm behind E-Harmony, one of the original online dating sites. His algorithm uses 29 variables such as social type, relationship style and emotional personality to develop matches that are similar. Where Fisher's algorithm for Chemistry.com will connect potential matches with variables that might be opposite, yet compatible, Buckwalter's algorithm matches by similarity. As he said in an article in the "New York Times," "It’s just much easier for people to relate if they don’t have to negotiate all these differences."
While you might not be able to peek behind the scenes at the proprietary mathematical algorithms used by a corporate online dating company, you can try a simpler version of these calculations at sites like Soulmate Calculator. These mathematical calculators allow you to rank a desired mate by variables like religious preference, risk tolerance, ambition and humor. Decide how wide a location and age range you are willing to consider, hit the calculate button and the system will do the math and tell you the statistical probability of meeting your perfect mate.
Tristan Miller's calculations
Wondering why your statistical probabilities for true love are so low? Then you will want to review the mathematical proofs put forth by Tristan Miller, now at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence. In, "Why I Will Never Have a Girlfriend," Miller does the calculations and proves that his search for the perfect mate is doomed. Based on a total world population of 5,592,830,000 in 1998. Miller calculates the percentage of that total who are female, live in "developed" countries and are within two years' age range of his own. He then does the mathematical calculations to determine what percentage of that subtotal fall at least two standard deviations above the norm in beauty and one standard deviation above the norm in intelligence. Calculating the percentage who are single and who might find him attractive, Miller comes up with a total of 18,726 women who might fit his bill. Based on dating one new woman a week, he determines that it will take him 3,493 weeks or about 67 years to meet the love of his life. At those odds, you might want to stick with Cupid's arrows.
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- beautiful date image by Kurhan from Fotolia.com