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IOL 2015 Problem #3 Soundex

Soundex is an algorithm for coding names. It was developed in the USA in 1918–1922 by Robert C. Russell and Margaret King Odell in order to facilitate searching for similar-sounding surnames. In the middle of the 20th century, Soundex was extensively used in the USA to analyse results of 1890–1920 censuses. Below is a sample card with data from the 1910 census. You can see the Soundex code for Wilson, which is W425.


Here is a list of surnames, with the corresponding Soundex codes in arbitrary order. Some characters are missing:

Allaway, Anderson, Ashcombe, Buckingham, Chapman, Colquhoun, Evans, Fairwright, Kingscott, Lewis, Littlejohns, Stanmore, Stubbs, Tocher, Tonks, Whytehead S312, T␣6␣, ␣5␣3, C42␣, T520, L␣42, A536, C155, ␣623, S356, ␣252, ␣152, ␣330, A251, A400, L2␣0

(a) Describe how Soundex code is produced, step by step.

(b) Match the surnames with the corresponding Soundex codes and restore the omitted characters.

(c) Generate Soundex codes for the following surnames:

Ferguson, Fitzgerald, Hamnett, Keefe, Maxwell, Razey, Shaw, Upfield.

—Alexander Piperski