Yesterday I posted a request for a method to perform a probabilistic lookup. Lots of good ideas. I chose the method suggested by Mpemba, mainly because he demonstrated that it works.
My goal was to create a workbook that generates a list of random fake names. I got it down to a single formula that uses two parameters: The probability of a male name, and the probability of having a middle initial. I think there’s about 2.7 billion unique names than can be generated. This sort of thing has lots of uses: generating data for samples files, and… uh… Well, I’m sure it’s good for something else. Anyone in the identity theft industry?
Here are some random names that it spit out: Delores A. Spear, Jason Dyer, David I. Hearn, Paulette Crissman, Gerald Olson, Kathleen Oleary, Joan Smith, Curtis Watt, Latina Murguia, Boyd Therrien, Rita Z. Morales, David Rapp, Ma Anderson, Kurt Cunningham, Nancy Hackney, Stacey I. Harris, Heath Hunter, Trevor Sisson, Carol Papenfuss, Patrick Lenhardt, Ian Grayson, Earl T. Wiggins, John Brooks, Billy Barkley, Antionette Adkisson, Edward I. Gibson, Lisa Stillman, Amanda Arthur, Lillian L. Archuleta, Virginia Ryan, Barbara Fritts, Robert Jones, Jacqueline Lowe, Donald Steiner, and Joyce Brown.
These names certainly sound real to me. In fact, I think I went to elementary school with Barbara Fritts.
In any case, feel free to download it and try it out: namegenerator.zip. The ZIP file is 790K, and the XLS file is about 3.3Mb.