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.