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Central Washington University

Math Offers Path to Dating Success, CWU Professor Says

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Gender symbolsWhen do you know that you have found your life partner? CWU Math Professor Jean Marie Linhart will discuss her premise that math holds the key to a successful dating life at the next Mount Stuart Mathematics Seminar.

The free, public presentation is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26, at 4:00 p.m. in Samuelson Hall 252.

“One of the reasons we date is because we want to find a long-term partner,” said Linhart. “One of the questions we have to ask is when do we decide we’re with the right person so that we’re going to stop dating and we’re going to settle down with somebody.”

To help quantify that timetable, Linhart will outline the Optimal Stopping Theory, which addresses the problem of choosing a time to take a particular action. Linhart will discuss how it can offer a strategy for finding the best romantic match, regardless of age, ethnicity, or any other delineating category.

“That’s the great thing about math; it’s pretty universally applicable,” Linhart added. “I’m looking at existing work, but looking at it in a different context.”    

Linhart will also review the Stable Marriage Algorithm, which won its founders a 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics. Linhart has developed a way to use the algorithm for easy-to-follow tips for dating success.

“I teach the Stable Marriage Algorithm in one of my classes,” Linhart explained. “I was teaching this algorithm and thinking about what the algorithm says in terms of [a person’s] dating life; and, I thought, there is actually a really practical message here.”

So practical, in fact, that Linhart says she sees it manifested in her own long-term relationship.

“I have actually found some of the advice from my talk to be very on point,” she admitted, with a laugh.  

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487, Robert.Lowery@cwu.edu

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