Matchmaking Algorithms

Written By: Nicole Di Tomasso

By definition, a mathematical algorithm is a step-by-step set of operations for solving a problem. Algorithms perform calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning.

The launch of eHarmony in 2000 ushered in algorithm-based matching or compatibility matching. Users of online dating sites are required to provide data about themselves, frequently in the form of self-reports of their personality, background, interests, values, and qualities desired in a partner. The sites then process the data to provide matches based on the site's compatibility algorithm, which is usually proprietary.

While the matching algorithms at sites like eHarmony are dependent upon users' self-reports, the matching algorithms at other sites appear to reply heavily upon non-self-report data. For example, some sites establish matches through genetic compatibility. GenePartner, which launched in 2008, markets its genetic testing as an alternative matching tool. For $99, one can order a kit and send in a sample of saliva to determine one's score on biological compatibility.

Work Cited

Finkel, Eli J, et al. "Online Dating: A Critical Analysis from the Perspective of Psychological Science." Psychological Science in the Public Interest 2.3 (2012): 1-64. Web. 27 Nov 2015.