Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Importance of naming things

Searching for "NIPS" in google blog-search mainly produces posts about nipples, my "CRF" subscription on delicious recently flooded me with links about "Chronic Renal Failure" (apparently a common feline ailment), and you can guess what I got when trying to find Bill Sutherlands "Beautiful Models" book (it's about statistical physics models).

Other unfortunate name choices -- hard-ass (hard as satisfiability, proposed for NP-complete problems before they had a name), Go programming language, hardcore model, Michael Jordan

As a rule of thumb, when coming up with a name for new technique, conference, concept, etc, it should satisfy at least one of two criteria:

  • not already be a popular keyword in google
  • be funny (ie RODEO ("regularization of derivative expectation operator") as an improvement on the LASSO (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator))


Unknown said...

The RODEO example has reminded me another witty name trick: MOA (Massive On-line Analysis) library as an extension of WEKA. Weka and moa both are the birds endemic to New Zeland.

Andreas Mueller said...

I noticed a Go-Cart on nipples.. err nips.. ;)

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