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A Big Data Love Story: Dating and Relationships

Most people associate cards, chocolates, roses and jewelry with Valentine’s Day, but here at FICO we see Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate our love of data and mathematics. Seriously?!

You bet! And more than 40 million Americans agree with us. This is the number of people who have taken to online dating sites to find their valentine. In fact, 5 percent of Americans have found their soul mate online, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project.

What these daters probably don’t know, however, is they are participants in a Big Data experiment. An experiment that traces its roots all the way back to 1965 when a Harvard student started a mail-in dating service using a rudimentary data model, according to The Observer in London.

In online dating, the volume and variety of information comes from users signing up and completing the comprehensive dating questionnaire. The more data a dating website can collect and run through its algorithms, the stronger the results. For a dating website to be successful, it needs lots of users and data, plus the right mathematical algorithm.     

OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder recently shared with TED-ED how mathematics and data are the key ingredients for online dating sites. But for some, the algorithm isn’t robust enough and needs more tuning. Check out this story from WIRED magazine about a mathematician who did just that.

There are so many amazing ways Big Data and analytics are being used to improve our daily lives, from healthcare to financial services and retail to entertainment. But it’s hard to beat a love story.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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