The question of when to pop the question has long vexed bachelors. Now, statisticians have devised a new formula that they claim will help men decide the right time to propose marriage to a potential bride.
An international team has come up with the formula which uses the 'theory of optimal stopping' – a sequential decision-making process used in finance and medical trials to pinpoint when to take an action to maximize expected rewards and minimize costs.
According to them, the probability formula suggests that men should propose marriage mostly as a joke, but it may actually work – in fact, it would give a 37 per cent chance of finding the best partner from a pool of marriage prospects.
"Probability isn't the most romantic basis for a marriage but while the formula won't fit everyone it does seem to fit a lot of couples, whether through accident or design.
"The Marriage Problem is well known to mathematicians: basically comes down to working out how long you're prepared to wait to marry and how many marriage prospects you're likely to meet during that time.
"Our formula tells you optimal age at which to propose and have the highest probability of achieving your goal.
"One could argue that the current, less-structured approach to picking a marriage partner hasn't been 100 per cent successful, so perhaps it's time for men to consider following a stricter set of rules when it comes to marriage.
"As well as meeting the right girl, they could also find themselves developing a new love for numbers – a win-win for everyone," team member Professor Anthony Dooley of the University of New South Wales said.
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