When a pair of MIT graduate students started disseminating sign-up sheets for MIT Connect, it was a simple Google doc. Now it's becoming an (MIT) phenomenon.
Then-graduate students Mohammad Ghassemi adn Tuka Al-Hanai began scheduling lunches with people who joined MIT Connect to see how they paired up.
MIT Connect, then a Google doc, pairs members for "one-on-one" lunches once a week over the semester.
A year and 1,000 lunches later, the two launched the "beta" edition of MIT Connect
Various funds from MIT now helped launched the program for MIT students. This will allow graduates, undergraduates, post-docs, alumni and employees to connect.
Interested parties can register in the website. But the point is, this is as platonic to Tinder as we could get.
Ghassemi and Al-Hanai both specialize in artificial intelligence. Using something they call the Maven, their system can now successfully match people.
More than half of their participants have made a "lasting friend" with the program.
The debacle started when both Ghassemi and Al-Hanai realized it's getting harder for people to connect.
A friend of theirs explained, "Nothing feels worse than going to an event alone and watching everyone else have fun."
Then, the idea came that what if they began having lunch with random people? They were eating anyway, so why not eat with someone new?
And then, viola. By the time they received a grant from the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education, their program was put into place.
While the program initially focused on peer-to-peer pairing, its creators wanted it to evolve.
In the future, the platform can even help students find mentors, employers, and even partners.
Source: We Forum