Mathematician Cracks OkCupid, Finds Wife

Though it still took 88 actual first dates

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 22, 2014 5:00 PM CST

(Newser) – First, there was boy meets girl. Then, boy meets girl online. And now, boy meets girl online after manipulating the algorithms of his Internet dating site. As Wired explains, it helps to be a mathematician. Christopher McKinlay was a 30-something looking for love on OkCupid and not having much luck. He also happened to be a math wizard working on his PhD dissertation at UCLA, and thus he struck upon his great plan: He created 12 fake OkCupid accounts, along with a computer program to manage them and harvest every bit of information possible about potential dates.

This resulted in a huge mass of information. To narrow the field into two key groups—"one full of mid-twenties arty types and one full of slightly older professional creative women," explains BuzzFeed—he employed, of course, an algorithm originally designed to analyze soybean crops. It's uber-complicated and might even be laughable except for the fact that McKinlay—on his 88th first date—finally met Christine Tien Wang, a 28-year-old artist. They are now engaged. “I think that what I did is just a slightly more algorithmic, large-scale, and machine-learning-based version of what everyone does on the site," he says. (Beware, though, cops like creating fake online dating profiles, too.)

  (Shutterstock)
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