OkCupid Founder Explains Compatibility Algorithm for Ted-Ed

Christian Rudder, one of OkCupid’s original founders, has given a Ted-Ed lesson detailing the equations behind the dating website’s matching algorithm.

OkCupid was founded in 2003 by a group of mathematics graduates who wanted to take an analytical approach to love and break human interaction down to something a computer could understand.

The short video covers the process, which Rudder describes as “surprisingly simple”, that began with new members self-submitting data to the algorithm by answering a variety of questions about their personality.

The founders quickly realised they needed to go more in-depth, however, so they started getting users to select how they would like a possible match to answer, and how important each individual question was to their life.

Rudder explains: “For every question we have three things for our algorithm – with all this information, OkCupid can figure out how well two people will get along. The algorithm crunches the numbers and gives us a result.”

From these results, every potential match gets a percentage score depending on how well they would satisfy one another, which then combines to create an overall compatibility rating.

Rudder concludes the video by saying: “The ability to take real-world phenomena and make them something a microchip can understand is, I think, the most important skill anyone can have these days.”

So far, the video has been viewed just under 900,000 times.

Last year, OkCupid’s Vice President of Engineering Tom Jacques was a panellist on an ‘Intelligence Squared’ debate where he argued that dating apps had not killed romance.

Visit the OkCupid website here.

Dominic Whitlock

Dominic is the Editor for Global Dating Insights. Originally from Devon, England he achieved a BA in English Language & Linguistics from The University of Reading. He enjoys a variety of sports and has a further passion for film and music.

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