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The Secretary Problem - Math Formula For Dating

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The Secretary Problem - Math Formula For Dating

Postby drealm » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:57 am


Here is the recipe for finding optimal love:

Step 1: Estimate how many people you could date in your life, n.

Step 2: Calculate the square root of that number, √n.

Step 3: Date and reject the first √n people; the best of them will set your benchmark.

Step 4: Continue dating people and settle down with the first person to exceed the benchmark set by the initial √n dates.

This may all sound very impersonal as a way to find a partner, but math has been used to locate love. When Kepler (of the Kepler conjecture) lost his first wife to cholera, he decided to make finding his next wife a mathematical process. In a letter written in 1613 he described how he planned to dedicate two years of his life to interviewing and ranking 11 possible candidates and then making a calculated choice. We don’t know what his “wife appropriateness function” to rank them was, but we do know that he felt the constraints of the secretary problem. He tried to go back and propose to the fourth person he interviewed, but she had already moved on, and refused him. He eventually ended up happily married to candidate five of eleven. Now that’s some rigorous loving.

Is this a good idea?
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Re: The Secretary Problem - Math Formula For Dating

Postby fschmidt » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:34 pm

drealm wrote:Is this a good idea?

No. This is an example of modernist thinking based on Plato. It's flaw is rationalism which is putting too much faith in deductive reasoning. The analogy to a secretary fails because it is much easier to rationally judge a secretary than a wife. We have the ability reason deductively to solve a certain class of problems. Finding a wife is not one of them. It is our emotions that are designed for the mating selection problem. So I suggest being guided by emotion. Deductive reasoning can never prove anything about the real world to be true but can prove things to be false. So deductive reason can be screening element that can eliminate bad candidates that may be emotionally appealing. But deductive reason should not be the selection process itself.
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Re: The Secretary Problem - Math Formula For Dating

Postby Jester » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:48 am

Good OP, good response. I learned something and LOL too.
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