Chris Coyne, Max Krohn, Sam Yagan, Christian Rudder, ‘OkCupid Compatibility Calculation’, 2003, Algorithm Auction
Chris Coyne, Max Krohn, Sam Yagan, Christian Rudder, ‘OkCupid Compatibility Calculation’, 2003, Algorithm Auction
Chris Coyne, Max Krohn, Sam Yagan, Christian Rudder, ‘OkCupid Compatibility Calculation’, 2003, Algorithm Auction
Chris Coyne, Max Krohn, Sam Yagan, Christian Rudder, ‘OkCupid Compatibility Calculation’, 2003, Algorithm Auction

How do I love thee? This groundbreaking algorithm counts the ways. People around the globe have discovered each other, found happiness and companionship, and started families with the help of the OkCupid Compatibility Calculation.

Quite literally, this one algorithm has changed millions of lives. People around the globe have discovered one another, found happiness and companionship, and started families because of the OkCupid Compatibility Calculation.

The algorithm is still in use and has remained largely unchanged since it was written in 2003. Previously, dating and matchmaking services employed “relationship experts”—generally psychologists and therapists—who based their guidance on survey questions answered by self-described happy couples. The members of the OkCupid team found this approach reductive. It ignored the unique tastes and passions of the individual. Instead they posited a mental exercise: If your best friend claimed to know your perfect match, what questions would you ask about that person?

In effect, the OkCupid algorithm analyzes a personalized Q&A session between pairs of people around the world, with the evaluation weighted by the importance each person attaches to the questions and the answers. What results is a high-probability measurement of compatibility. Love may be forever a mystery, but this code provides compelling clues.

Read the technologists' statement.

This lots includes two framed original drawings, created by the four OK Cupid Founders, based on the earliest version of the OK Cupid Compatibility Calculation, each signed or initialed by the four Founders. This lot also includes a commemorative 3D-printed Babylonian styled tablet containing the password to a private Github repository where the buyer may access an image of the lot. The tablet is in two parts with combined dimensions 6.9 x 3.4 x .76 in.

Please note: The buyer of this lot may not deduct any part of the purchase price as a charitable contribution. Access to Github is not guaranteed and is subject to Github's terms of service. This lot is not part of Smithsonian or Cooper Hewitt collections or property.

Signature: Signed recto

About Chris Coyne, Max Krohn, Sam Yagan, Christian Rudder

They write: “We met at Harvard during the late 1990s, in the first blush of the dot com era. Using no school resources whatsoever [cough], the four of us authored and programmed TheSpark.com, a site that published personality tests, quizzes, goofy science projects, and fabulously funny e-greetings and e-cards. In 1999, the team branched into higher academia with SparkNotes, a free competitor to Cliffs Notes written by Harvard students and alumni. Millions of kids have used SparkNotes to augment, or supplant, their learning. The SparkNotes brand has been proudly owned by Barnes & Noble since 2001.
"We reunited in New York City in 2003 and began work on a website for dating, a milieu befitting our expertise in math and computer science. OkCupid went live in 2004 to modest fanfare and has grown steadily since, like a modern-day black plague, spreading by ship and horse to all corners of the globe. We remain great friends.”