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The Wolfram|Alpha Team

Introducing Wolfram Personal Assistant Apps for iOS

July 12, 2011 —
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Today we are pleased to unveil the Wolfram Genealogy & History Research Assistant and the Wolfram Personal Finance Assistant Apps for iOS! These new additions to Wolfram’s wide offering of specialized apps are the first in our series of Personal Assistant Apps, which use Wolfram’s vast knowledge base to enrich topics that matter most to you. Explore the world of your ancestors with the Wolfram Genealogy & History Research Assistant, the only tool that lets you discover what was going on while they lived. Map family relations and expand on what you already know about any of your ancestors with a simple, easy-to-use interface. It’s as if you’re traveling through time with the tips of your fingers.

Genealogy & History Research Assistant App One way you can use the Wolfram Genealogy & History Research Assistant is to track the name popularity of your family members using the app’s specialized menus.

Name popularity

In addition to tracking name popularity and charting family relationships, you can also look at historical weather data to find out what the weather was like when your father was born.

Historical weather dataHistorical weather data result

The Wolfram Personal Finance Assistant App includes basic and complex calculations to help you manage your financial life. Use the app to plan for your future, calculate your current expenses, and find ways to pay off your loans faster. Thinking of moving within the US? Compare housing and utility prices, tax rates, and cost of living by state.

Wolfram Personal Finance Assistant App

Whether you’re considering taking out a loan for a new purchase or are looking to pay off a current debt, you can use this app to calculate your loan repayment schedule.

Loan repayment calculator

If you’re relocating from Chicago to New York, the Relocation Calculator can compare the cost of living, each city’s population, median home sale prices, and more.

Relocation calculatorRelocation calculator result

The app also includes discount and tip calculators, an investment returns calculator, a Rent vs. Buy calculator, current housing and interest rates, and much more.

The Wolfram Genealogy & History Research Assistant and the Wolfram Personal Finance Assistant Apps are now available for purchase in the App Store for $4.99. We look forward to bringing you more Wolfram Personal Assistant Apps in the future. Have an idea for an app? We’d love to hear more in the comments!


Why only iOS? Other OS users like Android or Windows could use this, and if you made it a web app that would pretty much cover everyone. As it is, only Apple fanboys and teenaged algebra students can use this.

Posted by Shemp Howard July 12, 2011 at 10:50 am

    That’s cold! Maybe you should step up to using a real computer, a.k.a. Mac and try an operating system that actually works.

    Posted by Eichhornchen July 13, 2011 at 7:34 am

Yes, rather tired of this Apple obsession and disregard for the vast majority of the consumers — I would gladly pay for such an App on Android and Windows.

Posted by Vania Mascioni July 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm

This looks like it has cool potential to add context to one’s history beyond one’s family tree. However, does the Geneology & History Research assistant support any kind of import/export for users who have existing trees built in other applications or who want to backup/share with other family members? If it does, would be nice to know what your app is capable of up front. Right now, I get the impression that one would need to rebuild a tree from scratch in your application.

Posted by Cameron July 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Two suggestions for the Genealogy & History app:

First, a feature to calculate distances between towns.

I use Wolfram Alpha for this all the time, to help me figure out, for example, if I have two towns with the same name, which one is likely to be the one I’m looking for. This is frequently a problem in Eastern Europe where many town names were the same or very similar. If I have a town name but I don’t know which one is the correct town, I calculate the distance from each to a third town where I know the person later lived, or to the town where their spouse came from, etc. to help me figure out which one is more likely to be the correct one. It would be very cool if you could add an ‘anchor’ town from which all other locations would show their distances from, and then add towns to a list and see which is closest, plot them on a map, find out which country each one was in in different time periods, etc.

Second, soundex tools. Figuring out where a town comes from is difficult if the spelling you have is phonetic and not the actual spelling. This is common on Naturalization papers, for example, where the person filling out the form wrote the name of the birth town as they heard it from the immigrant, not as it was actually spelled. Soundex can be very useful here. In particular support for Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex for towns would be useful. Pair DM with your own database of locations worldwide, and you can no provide people with lists of phonetically-matching town names.

For surnames, soundex is also useful for figuring out possible variants. In that case Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex and Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching (BMPM) are both useful. BPMP has language-specific rules that improve its output for many surnames from a wide variety of countries. These can both be seen on Stephen Morse’s site:

and in fact the source code for BMPM is available on the same site:

DM is a very easy set of rules, so source code isn’t really needed. BMPM needs source code because it includes thousands of linguistic rules spread over many languages to insure it matches accurately (and has less false-positives than DM for surnames).

Posted by Philip Trauring July 13, 2011 at 6:21 am

I had the impression that you could build a family tree in this app, then ask questions about it, but apparently you don’t build a tree, you just ask questions by entering ephemeral data. Disappointed.

Posted by Steve Taylor July 13, 2011 at 4:30 pm

wonderful tools!
No Android? Boooooo.

…Might want to pay attention to the largest growing segment of the market.

Posted by pjustveggies July 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm

the same for couse asistan apps ¬¬
Wolfram is married to Apple.

I’m so disappointed.

Posted by Carlos July 31, 2011 at 5:30 pm