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Elena Berman & Raunak Vijayakar

Project Summary

Introducing Our Research Site

    Almost half of all single adults in the United States have used online dating, a still-growing field (Gelles, 2011). Anonymity on dating sites is often marketed as a premium feature, but its effectiveness in different demographic groups has not been shown by published research. Therefore, our first goal was to obtain permission for a popular online dating site to access a dataset containing demographics and interactions of 100,000 de-identified users. We then ran “Big Data” analytics on the dataset to compare the quality and quantity of online-dating matches when a user uses a dating site anonymously or non-anonymously. The authors used R-programming language to clean the set and sort users, as well as run advanced statistical tests. Results showed that anonymity significantly decreases quantity of matches (p < 0.0001) and does not significantly increase quality of matches (p > 0.05), despite the fact that the dating site markets anonymity as a beneficial feature.
    The second goal was motivated by a literature search that revealed the Gale-Shapley deferred acceptance-matching algorithm, which generates mathematically stable matches. First, linear regressions were programmed in R to generate preference formulae for all users. Then, preference-assigning software was written in Java to apply these formulae to established matches. Finally, the algorithm was programmed and adapted to use the preference-assigning software to produce matches. The authors’ application removes a massive limitation on the use of the Gale-Shapley algorithm, making it applicable to many fields, from matching residents and hospitals to students and colleges. 

 Elena Berman

I am a senior. This is my second year in Breck’s Advanced Science Research program. Last year, I conducted research on Alzheimer’s disease and developed a new methodology to diagnose Alzheimer’s using retinal biomarkers. I am interested in computer science, and hope to double-major in CS and the Chinese language. Outside of school, I listen to a lot of music, totaling 21 Spotify playlists. My favorite artists are Coldplay, Sara Bareilles, Green Day, Cage the Elephant, and Ray LaMontagne. I enjoy being involved in the community and am involved in a variety of activities at Breck, including Cross Country, Computer Science Club, Mock Trial, BATO BATO!, and Student Service Council. Outside of Breck, I read a lot, especially fantasy. Oh, I forgot—I also like cats.

   Raunak Vijayakar

I am a senior, and I have been at Breck since kindergarten. I had the opportunity to participate in many activities throughout my Breck experience. Through Advanced Science Research I was able to pursue my interest in computer science and large dataset analysis, and improve my presenting skills, something that will serve me well in the coming years. Additionally, Breck's excellent Chinese program has given me a wealth of multicultural experiences while bolstering my desire to become fluent in Chinese and even attend school in China. One of my passions is cross country skiing, which I have participated in both inside and outside of Breck since I was 10. I am a team leader of Breck's Military History Club, and production manager of Breck's Garden for Good student-led service site. When vacations come, I enjoy being outside and hiking.
Also, Elena likes cats.
"I’ve found that Advanced Science Research is an experience that draws not just on science, but also team-building. It is about science, but it is more than just the science: it is also an opportunity to problem-solve, to learn presentation skills, and to connect with others on the team and at science fairs."
"Be proactive: seek out opportunities and promote yourself. There is much you will be asked to do in Science Research, but what is most gratifying is what you ask yourself to do."
Honors & Awards

Elena Berman (2017) & Raunak Vijayakar (2017) worked at the Carlson School of Management under the guidance of Dr. Ravi Bapna. Elena will be attending Stanford University this coming fall. Raunak will be working in Denali National Park as part of his gap year.

State Science and Engineering Fair

  • International Science & Engineering Fair Alternates, awarded an opportunity to attend Intel's international competition in May 2017 in Los Angeles, CA
  • Wolfram Research Mathematica Software Award – Mathematica software for 1st place project in each category
  • Minnesota State Science and Engineering Fair participant

Twin Cities Regional Science Fair

  • American Psychological Association Award
  • University of Minnesota Sponsor Award
  • Top ribbon signifying qualification to the Minnesota State Science Fair Competition in April
  • Research Paper Competition participant

Elena Received NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing Award

  • National Center for Women & Information Technology National Honorable Mention recipient
  • Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Award State Winner