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And once at Match, he, Ginsberg and a team of nine maths whizzes hired by Thombre, set about updating the Match algorithm."The one thing I knew was numbers and analytics, so we started building a numbers team here," he told me. The same principles work, no matter what kind of numerical problem you're solving."The way the Match algorithm learns, he says, is similar to the way the human brain learns.We sat in a conference room overlooking a floor full of computer engineers gazing at their monitors, and with a Power Point presentation, she endeavoured to show me how Match uses cutting-edge technology to cultivate age-old emotions.With the number of paying subscribers using Match approaching 1.8 million, the company has had to develop ever more sophisticated programs to manage, sort and pair the world's singles.Her jewellery was limited to a diamond bracelet and a wedding band.Confident and casual, she seemed as good a person as any to be the face of online dating.Central to this effort has been the development, over the past two years, of an improved matchmaking algorithm. "If you say you want a guy between 30 and 35 in New York who has a master's degree, you're going to get thousands of matches."Codenamed "Synapse", the Match algorithm uses a variety of factors to suggest possible mates.While taking into account a user's stated preferences, such as desired age range, hair colour and body type, it also learns from their actions on the site.
"I might come in and say I'm looking for a nice Catholic guy between 30 and 40 who is non-married," she says.It is a subtle shift, but one with profound implications."Before, matches were based on the criteria you set.So, if a woman says she doesn't want to date anyone older than 26, but often looks at profiles of thirty-somethings, Match will know she is in fact open to meeting older men. That is, the algorithm looks at the behaviour of similar users and factors in that information, too.Until Ginsberg joined IAC, which owns Match, in 2006, she worked at i2 Technologies, a supply-chain management company, also based in Dallas.