Saturday, 7 October 2017

Can an algorithm help you find your soulmate?

The dating scene has seen it all. Swipes left, swipes right, matching with people you’ve already hooked up with, women making the first move and the introduction of several new dating ‘phenomenons’. Wtf is ‘submarining’?! Anyone?!

But one thing that hasn’t been seen in dating is the use of logic to help pair you together. Until now.

Introducing pear. (Do you get it yet?)

pear is a brand new dating app that is aiming to completely revolutionise the dating scene in London. But where it’s actually different is the nuts and bolts that makes the app work; it uses a Nobel Prize-winning algorithm to match together two people who are more likely to really get on.

Forget hundreds of matches, running out of people, long questionnaires and unanswered messages. So how does it actually work?

When using pear, users are presented with two profiles and have to pick who they like best. You see, right there is an incentive to be 100% honest with your answer. From there, the very clever pear algorithm uses your choices to match users with people who have also ranked them highly.

But don’t worry! This info isn’t shared so “Alex” will never know he was “Jade’s” last choice.

pear focuses on quality over quantity. Which is what we’re all really after, right?


So what’s the deal with this algorithm?

It was developed by mathematicians Gale and Shapely to solve something they called the stable marriage problem”. For their efforts they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2012. The “pears” (get it?) made are mathematically perfect. If the app matches you with someone, there’s no other person you like more than the person you’re matched with, and they don’t want to be with anyone else. This means you can be sure you are receiving the best possible matches.

Daniele Condorelli, Professor of Economics (PhD), CEO and the brains behind the app said: “pear solves the congestion problem that afflicts apps like Tinder, especially in larger cities; some users are matched with too many users and it becomes unclear who really likes who, as people engage more and more in compulsive and mindless swiping. This experience quickly becomes unpleasant for users who are serious about finding a date, and we are here to fix this.

“We’re excited to launch the app and we hope to help thousands of Londoners find their perfect match.”

Ready to get started on your new dating adventure? Ready to find The One?

Download ‘pear’ today!

Apple users, find your ‘pear’fect match by downloading here. Juicy ;)

On Android instead? I’m afraid I can’t think of any fruit-related puns for Android. Sorry. Download it here to find the love of your life.

So, why pear?

Online dating has skyrocketed in popularity. Approximately one in five relationships in the UK and US are started online. Say what?!

Despite this, or probably because of this, dating online suffers a huge congestion problem. Women, in particular, receive a large number of messages from male users - often looking for sex or just sending a random dick pic. Never pleasant. More often than not they are unable to distinguish genuine interest from spam driven by the brain between a man’s legs.

pear solves the congestion problem by using the information users provide to offer high-quality matches. When we pair you with someone, you know that, in a certain sense, you are meant for each other. More precisely, there’s no other  user  that  you  rank  higher  than  your  current  match that would  give  up  any  of  their  current  matches  to  be matched  with  you.


Wanna find out more about pear? We spoke to Daniele Condorelli to get the dirt behind this revolutionary new app…

Why the name pear?

pear is a cute word and is pronounced as pair, so like couple. Since we are in the business of pairing up people, ‘pearing’ them up sounded good to us, too. All credit goes to Iride, my girlfriend, for coming up with the name during a late night brainstorming session.

Why do you think dating apps are important?

We all know that relationships and marriage have a prominent role in our life. A successful partnership is very valuable. In the past, people were meeting locally, and it was common to marry neighbours. There weren’t many suitors available to choose from. In contrast nowadays, in the age of connectedness, we suffer from the opposite problem. We are confronted with so many choices and we feel we are missing out until we find the perfect partner. This search can become very costly and dating applications can reduce these search costs. It’s even better if these applicants, like pear, help you get in touch with achievable and compatible prospects.

There are so many dating apps out there, what makes pear better?

pear inherits the simplicity and logic of mobile applications like Tinder. We don’t ask users to fill long questionnaires before joining. Instead, matching is only based on our users’ revealed preferences. These are expressed through a series of simple binary judgements, swiping right or left in Tinder, selecting one out of two prospects in pear.

However, we go past Tinder as we let users express a more defined ranking of people of the other sex. It’s not just a yes/no decision. In pear, the user must vote up one profile at a time. By collecting these votes, we are able to identify how each users of the opposite sex is ranked, from the most preferred to the least. The information that we gather allows us to give users a restricted set of matches, which are optimal in a specific sense. Roughly speaking, we match users that rank each other highly.

This solves the congestion problem that afflicts Tinder, especially in larger cities. Some users are matched with too many people and it becomes clear who really likes who, as people engage more in addictive swiping. We are here to fix this.

What’s next for pear?

Right now, we are building a tool that lets users access infographics about the data we collect on the platform. For each user, we will be able to provide information, for instance, on which age group rank them higher, or on whether brunettes or blonds are more interested in them.

At the moment, pear requires users to self-select into two gender groups: men and women. This is a limitation that we inherited from the algorithm we employ. If users are separated in two groups, the algorithm will always find a stable matching. Instead, this is not possible if, for instance, there is a single user pool and everyone is potentially compatible with everyone else. To overcome this limitation, we are currently working on a version of the app that uses an alternative algorithm called “the roommate algorithm”, which would allow us to make the app available to the LGBT community too.

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