Match Day and Stable Marriage

“Stable Marriage” is a data matching system that solves the question of how to match one set of people with another set of people based on asking each of the groups what they prefer the most.

This system is probably best known as that which matches medical school graduates with residency programs for which they have a preference.  Each applicant presents a ranked list of programs and each program presents a ranked list of applicants. Being matched is the answer to providing each with the answer that most closely matches the needs and desires of each.

Brian Eule is the author of Match Day: One Day and One Dramatic Year in the Lives of Three New Doctors and says this about Match Day:

Match Day is the culmination of four years of study, and months of an intense process leading up to this moment. These students have applied to hospitals and residency programs, selecting the field of medicine they hope to work in, the city they hope to live in. They have interviewed with doctors and program directors. They have created lists ranking their top choices, as have the residency programs, submitting it to a computer program to make their match. And they have waited, wondering where they will work and train in just a few short months after their medical school graduations. Today, inside those envelopes, a fragment of a sentence on a single sheet of paper, will inform them where they will begin this important stage of their lives.

Brian’s comments appeared on KevinMD’s blog.

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