Algorithmic search for a girlfriend

Posted to Statistics  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Sharif Corinaldi moved from New York to Berkeley for graduate school and was in search of a mate. However, after a bit of non-success with online dating sites, he figured a 0.0025 percent chance of finding a match, which meant about 400 messages sent before any success. So, he built a bot to browse and search for him. He accidentally left it running one night.

I fiddled with the model for a week, and it finally finished running late one Sunday night. Seated alone at a cold metal desk in my TA office, eagerly looking over these first results at 3am, I mouthed a silent curse under my breath. After arriving at realistic estimates for “female pickiness” (fem_Pck) and “creepiness tolerance” (creep_Tol), my model had determined I’d have to look through 600-700 profiles a night to have any hope of being exposed to Ms Right before she got fed up, burnt out and sequestered herself off in a nunnery, or at least got back with her ex. For someone who needed to spend every waking moment buried under an avalanche of quantum mechanics preprints, this wasn’t going to cut it.

Disgusted, I set the model to aimlessly auto-browse profile information overnight, and left the lab. The next day I woke up and found that everything had changed.

Corinaldi has a girlfriend now, after casting a very wide net.

Kids these days.

Favorites

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.

How to Spot Visualization Lies

Many charts don’t tell the truth. This is a simple guide to spotting them.

Jobs Charted by State and Salary

Jobs and pay can vary a lot depending on where you live, based on 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s an interactive to look.

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.