In 1965, two enterprising students from Harvard, Jack Tarr and Vaughan Morrill, dreamed up the idea of a computerized dating service. Aided by David Crump and Douglas Ginsburg (in 1987 he withdrew his name from nomination to the Supreme Court after admitting to—gasp!—smoking pot in college), they put their idea in motion and created "Operation Match." Clients paid $3.00 and filled out a 110-item questionnaire that, in addition to the usual statistics of age, height, weight, sex, included questions like the following . . .


My ideal date should be: 1] very sexually experienced 2] moderately sexually experienced 3] somewhat sexually experienced 4] sexually inexperienced 5] doesn't matter

The answers (punched on to IBM cards) were run through an Avco 1790 computer and the resulting names of "compatible" individuals sent to the client. Used by college students and denizens of Catskill resorts' "Singles Week" promotions, Operation Match was an unqualified success (at least for its creators): more than a million people used its services by the time it was sold in 1968.