Jargon, of course, is often cited as one of the biggest barriers towards people from different fields understanding each other – acronyms in particular. Electrical Engineers might be happy with their FETs and Computer Scientists with their DFAs but an English Professor from the University of Southampton isn’t going to have the faintest idea what they’re talking about. This is possibly okay, since a English Professor from Southampton probably doesn’t want to know what they’re talking about and in fact, given that the cited examples were an Electrical Engineering and a Computer Scientist, it could be argued that no sane person would ever have any reason to want to know what they’re talking about.
But that’s not the end of the story. Why is it that human beings can’t avoid the temptation to re-use acronyms and abbreviations within the same field. No, not only the same field but the same area of the same field! The ISE/Computing II Compiler course has a bit on Deterministic Finite Automata, but also includes Data Flow Analysis. So we’re supposed not to get them confused (which isn’t that difficult, but this is a rant, so let’s pretend that it is). Hmmmm.
Still, two uses of DFA in the field of Compilers could be put down to a one-off, a fluke – or, more importantly, something that no-one cares about. Let’s move on to what is surely Imperial College Union’s most popular acronym: S-A-C (pronounced, unsurprisingly, sack). In the space of about one year this particular acronym has sprung up all over the place. Gone is the old an unexciting Union Finance Committee in President Common’s constitutional fiddling last year, in comes the shiny (and equally boring) Student Activities Committee…SAC. But wait, there’s more.
A little while later some idiot decided to create a new staff position within ICU. A Student Activities Coordinator. To make things even better the Student Activities Coordinator sits on the Student Activities Committee as a permanent observer. Then, another group of idiots (I think they call themselves the Executive Committee) decided that the aptly named Clubs and Societies Resource Centre would be moved from the main Union offices into the basements. And renamed. So, now the Student Activities Coordinator can go to the Student Activities Committee held in the Student Activities Centre.
And to put the icing on the cake, C&GCU’s constitutional re-write in a vague attempt to fudge together some sort of Engineering FSA has produced plans for a Student Affairs Committee. Great.
So what’s the point of this rant? Well, not much actually, I just couldn’t face writing anything more on “spatial domain techniques for image watermarking”. Understandable really.