Aleks pointed me to this new product by the people behind the Baby Name Wizard. Here’s the description:
How do we go from name inspirations to new name ideas? Nymbler combines human expertise and artificial intelligence to sift through thousands of names and find the ones that fit your taste.
Laura Wattenberg is a name expert and the author of The Baby Name Wizard. Her specialty is analyzing name style-sorting out the dozens of influences that might distinguish Marvin from Mason or Daphne from Darlene. Through years of research she has compiled a huge portfolio of name information. Each name is categorized on everything from ethnicity to historical popularity to soap opera appearances.
Icosystem is a Cambridge, Massachusetts technology company. Their Hunch EngineTM solves the dilemma of searching “when you don’t really know what you are looking for, but you’ll know it when you find it.” The Hunch EngineTM is a smart system based on a genetic algorithm. Given information on options and taste, it identifies subtle patterns and makes personalized suggestions.
Together, these two experts set out to create an intelligent baby-naming tool. They trained the Hunch EngineTM on Laura’s storehouse of name data and analysis. They taught it to understand names, to pick up on the trends and style cues that you’d notice yourself-and maybe some you wouldn’t.
The result is Nymbler, a unique personal naming assistant. It’s an expert system that learns about your taste and helps guide you to new ideas. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring this name landscape as much as we do.
I wonder if they could get some data on names of parents and children, or names of siblings. This would give correlation info that could make things really interesting.
Unsurprisingly, I've played with this quite a bit. I think it relies mostly on the origin on names – for example, if I enter a name of Scottish origin as one that I like, it gives me more names of Scottish origin. I wish it were more specific about the number of syllables, first letters, etc.