Big data, savior for China's love seekers?

Liu Cixin, one of China’s most celebrated sci-fi writers, also believes big data can help people find their other half. “I once read an article saying that every person on Earth can, in theory, fall in love with 600,000 others. It sounds amazing, but how many of the 600,000 will the person actually meet? Very few, I think.

“Big data can pick out potential dating pairs from a very large pool, which is more accurate than traditional match-making, and give them chance to meet and communicate,” Liu says.

United States mathematician Christopher McKinlay reportedly used big data in his own – arguably not very romantic – quest for love.

AFP reported that McKinlay opened several accounts on the dating site OKCupid, and pulled out 6 million questionnaire answers from 20,000 registered women. He wrote programs to pick out 5,000 active users and narrowed the pool down by indices suitable for marriage.

Within 90 days, his optimized algorithm had found a match: an Asian woman who later became his fiancee.

The concept of big data is new in China, where most online users were born after 1980, a generation now in their marrying years.

Unlike their parents who mainly relied on match-making by relatives, friends and colleagues, today’s young people – big city dwellers, always on the go, with no time for romance – are turning to Internet for help.

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