The google of online dating boston globe

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Dating site Ok Cupid sent an e-mail to some of its users late last week informing them that they've been placed in the top half of users in terms of attractiveness by its algorithms.

“If we had to do everything in Excel, it would take forever.” Rudder’s crew uses R to visualize big data quickly, something they couldn’t do with Excel.

“R lets us get a ‘zoomed-out’ view of what’s going on with the data, which helps us decide quickly if the tack we’re taking with the data is yielding something interesting.

A recent post, “Big Lies People Tell in Online Dating,” reveals some pretty amazing truths behind the tall tales that are told regularly in the quest for romance.

With unflinching mathematical precision, accompanied by several convincing charts, the post shows how people routinely lie about their height, income and looks.

“If we had to buy a package from a major vendor — even just one license for Max — we’d blow our budget for software.

“If I have some data and I have an idea for analyzing that data, the chances are good that someone in the R community has already written a program that does what I need,” says Max Shron, a data scientist at Ok Cupid. “There was a tremendous amount of data,” says Rudder.

“When we were looking at things like sex partners and messaging, R was very helpful.

In the early days, when Ok Cupid had fewer members and the data sets were smaller, Excel (s msft) sufficed.

But as the site’s membership rapidly grew into the millions, it was not uncommon for surveys to generate responses from 500,000 members.

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For more insights from the big data landscape, come to Giga OM’s Structure: Big Data conference on March 23 in New York City.

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