University crunches data to find students the perfect roommates
Students fill in a questionnaire before registration at Nanjing University in Jiangsu province, which includes questions on their study and rest schedules, health, learning preferences and personalities. [Photo/yangtse.com]
Nanjing University is using personality tests and algorithms to make sure students sharing rooms in its dormitories have the best chance possible of getting on well together.
The college in Jiangsu province is one of the first in the country to use the smart new system, and it should make life in shared dorms much more fun for new undergraduates.
Most universities in China still assign students to rooms based simply on their surnames, which often throws together people with wildly different habits, characters and backgrounds.
This combustible mix of personalities regularly ends up leading to conflicts and embarrassment.
The system’s power lies in its database, which in its trial period has already collected the personal details of more than 800 students.
They were asked to fill in a questionnaire before registration that included questions on their study and rest schedules, health, learning preferences and personalities.
The system then uses a greedy algorithm, an information processing method, to place each student on a six-vector grid. The closer students appear to each other on the grid, the more likely they are to be assigned the same room.
Gong Yue, chief of the student affairs office at Nanjing University, introduced that the application of the new system was necessary and important to improve students’ college experience.
“Dormitory is the most direct place for social contacts; it’s like a screen displaying the students’ interpersonal communication abilities,” Gong said.
His idea was inspired from various surveys conducted among college students.