Earlier this year, a few of our members attended a Big-Little matching program for the LGBTQIA+ community at Wellesley. A Big-Little matching program is intended to pair students new to Wellesley with more experienced students who may offer them guidance and friendship. The program was run by a single woman who had spent over 24 hours combing through hundreds of Google Forms to match each person by hand. Unbelievably inefficient, this program was also notorious for forming awkward/incompatible matches, and most students had unfortunately come to dislike it. This struck us as deeply upsetting; Big-Little matching programs are instrumental in helping students adjust to a new environment. What's more, because many of the Littles applying for Bigs in this program had recently come out, providing them with a friendly, compatible, older, wiser peer to provide guidance would help their transition to Wellesley even more. Clearly, the Big-Little matching system at Wellesley needed to change. That's where Match Me If You Can comes in.
What it does
Match Me If You Can uses the "stable marriage algorithm" to find matches between two groups of people. The program ensures that, based on the data received, every pair is stable. This means no pair would want to switch partners with any other pair. The program forms matches based on Google Form information, taking into account each user's interests and priorities. For our demo, we have applied the algorithm to find friendships within a large group of people using Twilio. A user simply texts the phrase "Match Me!" to our Twilio number, and a Google Form will be sent to them. Once enough people fill out the form, each user will receive a text informing them that matches have been created. The user simply texts their name and birthday, and they will receive the name of their match! They are then free to find their new friend. The user then has the option to text us feedback on their experience.
How we built it
We created the algorithm in Python and read in data from Google Forms. For our demo, we used Twilio to distribute the survey and match results, as well as to receive feedback on our program.
Challenges we ran into
Half our team had very little experience coding in Python. We were all able to reach a point of understanding to comprehend how our code works. We also planned on running our demo using a domain, but were unable to reserve a domain name. We decided to use Twilio instead.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Each of our team members took risks and accomplished goals even when they had no experience using the tech in question. Our program solves a problem very close to our hearts, and we're excited to see how it can lead to social good in our communities.
What's next for Match Me If You Can
We hope to integrate our program into Big-Little matching systems at Wellesley College. This will involve adapting the program to handle each clubs' needs, including forming matches from an odd number of people, and pairing multiple Littles to each Big or multiples Bigs to each Little. Additionally, we would like to adapt our program to handle a wider variety to survey questions to increase match compatibility. We also hope to create a user-friendly interface so that clubs can run our program without needing extensive help from us. Our program can be further applied to Roommate matching, or Major Advisor matching. The possibilities are endless!