Tuesday, December 14, 2004

How to Find Your Optimal Spouse, Mathematically Speaking

"You have to choose your life mate. The rules we adopt for this model are that you will be presented 100 choices one after another, you may date them, sleep with them, whatever. But, at the end, you must say yea or nay and if you say nay, you will never see them again."
What strategy should you adopt?

You can prove mathematically that the best strategy is to look at (approximately) the first 36.787944117144235 people (rounding it to, say, 37 people) and then you should choose the first person from that point on that is 'better' then the previous 37 people. This increases the odds of your finding the best match from 1% to about 37%- roughly a 37 times improvement.

Or, in another variation of the model ("twelve bonk rule"), there's a result that says that if you simply want to ensure that your choice is better than 90% of the other choices available, simply 'sample' the first 12 possibilities and pick the first person who is better after the first 12. This strategy gives you a 77% possibility of success.

There are glaring flaws with applying this in real life but it's interesting to consider. Read more on Slashdot.

Update: Due to the recent volume of comments that I have received, I want to emphasize that I am not espousing this theory as a relationship management tool. In fact, it's not even specifically a dating formula; it's a generic formula for making an optimal choice when presented with a number of consecutive options. But it is funnier to apply it to dating.

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