Code Jamming: Backronyms

jamExcuse me if I reference my first post ever on this blog but it’s right: I am very bad at following through with projects. I am, however, very good at following through with commitments and promises I have made.

Luckily I have friends with good ideas, and one of them came up with this one: every few weeks hold a “code jam” that gets all of us both excited and motivated about projects we could do. If we make it a commitment to each other to work on the projects and just feed ideas off one another, it will mean projects are more likely to get started and to get completed.

We decided to start with something easy. The organizer of the group, Kevin, recently posted about the problem of generating backronyms. There is an internet site out there does this, but it doesn’t do a very good job.

Well, let’s back up: what are backronyms? Sometimes you have a clever acronym you want to create for a project but you don’t know what the letters should stand for. So you invent the words that the letters stand for out of whole cloth! This is a backronym. This is used all the time in government: an example would be the USAPATRIOT act.

Well, the group has met three times and we have come up with three different algorithms for how to do this. I’m the first one to get my algorithm ready to run so it’s up now! On the internet! You can find it at pheared labs. It’s written in Python using django.

At first, it was only able to make sensible things out of 3 letter acronyms (try your initials). I’ve recently improved the algorithm so that it does fairly well with up to 5 letters and I hope to make it better. I also hope my friends will come up with their alternative algorithms so we can have more options.

If you live in or around Silver Spring and would be interesting in attending a Jam, let us know! Exciting!

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One Response

  1. FIRST!

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