Thursday, June 26, 2014

Computer Dating

My brother went through his old stuff cleaning out his apartment in New York and stumbled upon the 1981 computer dating questionnaire I wrote in high school. Forgive the dated and adolescent nature of the questions.

The computer science teacher showed us an example of a computer dating form created by some company, a new idea at the time. I decided to run computer dating at the high school, created a questionnaire and passed it around. I did this a few years, the 1981 form must have been the last as that's the year I graduated. In those ancient history days, my fellow students filled out these forms on paper and then I would type the answers into the big teletype machines in the computer lab. I wrote a program to create a matching, I have no idea what algorithm I used but I'm sure it was quite simplistic. I always got matched to the same person, but the pickup line "my computer dating program matched us up" didn't go very far. I did hear of one couple having one (and only one) date because of the program. There's a reason I became a theorist.

My daughters tell me the whole scene has changed with traditional dating quite rare these days. "First you become boyfriend/girlfriend and then you date" which seems so backwards to me.

Now we have websites that use sophisticated machine learning algorithms to connect people. I met my wife the old fashioned way--at a wine and cheese party sponsored by a Boston-area Jewish singles group.


  1. What's a pep rally? I didn't know Python existed back then. Did you all get together at social events to write up proposals for enhancements to the language?


    go to the above link- it turns out the Lance's list of questions is longer than it needs to be.

  3. In Iowa: Q: What kind of music do you enjoy?

    (1) country … (2) western … (3) both kinds