Harvard Students Flock to Datamatch

The results of Datamatch, Harvard's online matchmaking service, were e-mailed to 2,195 students early yesterday morning, although most did not lose any sleep over them.

"I was expecting to be more excited, but I didn't know the guys, so it was disappointing," said Naomi E. Straus '04.

The Harvard Computer Society (HCS) revised Datamatch, which had been used in previous years. Those in search of Cupid's arrow or a good laugh answered 30 questions regarding their preferences on ideal dates, favorite television shows and books, and more.

HCS's computer program then generated a list of the ten closest matches with complex algorithms.

There was no obligation to contact anyone on the list of matches.

First-years (651) and sophomores (664) most eagerly participated in Datamatch. The interest of upperclassmen waned, with 538 juniors and 328 seniors taking part.

The gender balance was fairly equal--1,069 males and 1,126 females.

Eliot and Lowell Houses showed the most enthusiasm, with 173 and 156 students submitting data, respectively.

Because 14 alumni submitted data, some students were shocked to see their residential tutors on their lists.

The thought of contacting people on the list was not entirely appealing for everyone.

"Honestly, I did it because a friend asked me to do it. I didn't e-mail anyone and frankly, I'd be a little weirded out by it," said Ross G. Douthat '02.

Most students said they were not looking for potential soulmates.

"I hadn't done it seriously, so the results didn't matter to me," said Emily J. Griffin '01.

Others were shocked to find their friends on the list.

"I contacted some of the people on the list because I knew them. I marveled at some of the pseudonyms people went under. I had done the same," said Jared M. Greene '03.

"I was very surprised to see four people I knew on the list," said Phyllis G. Maloney '04. "I don't know anyone else who had friends on their list."

--Staff writer Melissa R. Brewster can be reached at brewst@fas.harvard.edu.