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I'm doing a research project on a popular dating site called: OkCupid
I would like to talk about how the database is used.
After reading this explanation from the Co-Founder of the site, I became very confused.
The statements:

when a user performs a match search on OkCupid, we have to do the following:

-Retrieve (from somewhere not the DB) their question answers, their ideal match's answers, and their question importances. On average, each user on OkCupid has 250 questions answered in 3 parts.
-Figure out who qualifies for their search, typically a very complicated query across a few million users. On average, tens of thousands of people qualify, and we need to figure out who they are without hitting the DB.

How do they do all this without consulting a database??
I'm utterly confused.
Here is a link to the post
I appreciate any explanations as to how they do things there

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closed as primarily opinion-based by RolandoMySQLDBA, Paul White, Mike Walsh, Mark Storey-Smith, ypercube Nov 23 '13 at 11:06

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

They didn't explicitly mention this, so I am only guessing here, but they are using some search index such as Lucene to perform the actual searches. They'll have a persistent database of some sort but their search index is periodically built from that data set.

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