Friday, January 05, 2018

Which of these Math acronyms are well known?

The last time I taught Grad Ramsey Theory there were very good math grads and ugrads in it. They used some acronyms - some I knew, some I didn't know (but know now).  I am sure some are well known and some are now. I don't know which is which. Here is the list and comments

WLOG- Without Loss of Generality. This one I know and it seems well know-- When Googled the first page is all this definition. (Maybe I shouldn't use the term ``Googled''- I've heard that brand names don't like it when they become generic terms like `Googled'. Kleenex, Photoshop, Xerox had this fate. Their is a word for it- genericide)

ITOT- It turns out that. An Applied Math Prof used this in a course I had in 1977. I have not seen it used since then. I don't even use it. 

BWOC- By Way of Contradiction. I thought this was better known. When I google it I got to this page which tells me it stands for:

Big Wolf on Campus (TV Show)

By Weight of Cement (Oil and Gas industry)

Big Women on Campus (GOOD- the counterpart to BMOC)

By Way of  Contradiction (Given the other items on the list I'm surprised it made the cut)

Bob Wayne's Oil company

FTSOC- For the Sake of Contradiction. NOT, as Google told me, Fuck this Shit O'Clock (reminds me of when I use FML for Formula and the class tells me its means Fuck My Life)

WTS- This was a new one for me. It took a while to get it from context but it was Want to Show. Google gives Women in Transportation.  

NTS- Need to show. Also a radio station and the National Traffic System.

I think the only one of these that is standard is WLOG.  The rest I think could be useful. But I ask you- are any of these standard? Are there ones that are standard that I missed? Of course, the great thing about standards is that there are so many of them.


  1. These are all pretty much new to me. :(
    Between acronyms & emojis I fear, in a couple of decades, there won't be written language as we have known it! :((
    One thing though, I'm pretty sure companies LOVE it when their products become generic -- wouldn't you like it if every time someone wanted some Puffs Tissues, they said "If you're headed to the store please get me a couple of boxes of Kleenex."

    1. I'm pretty sure that you are wrong. Aspirin was a trademark but Bayer did not defend this trademark and lost it. The same for Thermos, even though they eventually tried to start protecting it. It might seem like free advertising in the short term, but in the long term it can destroy your brand. That's why Google has actively gone after publications that use words like "googling" when they don't specifically mean using the Google search engine.

      There's a reason why there is an entire page on the proper way of describing certain things, like saying that an image was altered with Adobe® Photoshop® software.

  2. When I was a grad student in the late 90s, I remember using WLOG and WTS quite often. This was in UCSD, btw.

  3. WMA = We May Assume
    ETS = (it's) Enough To Show
    W^5 = Which Was What We Wanted

  4. smf = simple measurable function

  5. TFAE=the following are equivalent

  6. hi hi: for probability minded people like myself.
    a.e. :: almost everywhere but also p.p.:: presque partou
    a.s. :: almost surely
    w.r.1. :: with respect to 1
    w.r.: with respect to
    d.f. or v. : degrees of freedom
    p.m.f. :: probability mass function

  7. I'm cybernetics we had
    FOOML - Forward over one minute loop; the calculation of loop gain