I have implemented software (system, method) to solve a problem and I am writing a paper about it. In the related works I see some similar works which have a name (e.g Lixto, TSIMMIS, Florid, etc.)

Should I also use a name for my system? Are there any conventions or guidelines for it or for the names?

What are the advantage or disadvantage of it?

  • My thesis project was named Proteus due to its polymorphism. One of my software projects was named Sydney, after a friend, for no reason other than my liking the name. You've got to call it something for purposes of discussion; as long as the name doesn't offend anyone or violate trademark, it's fine.
    – keshlam
    Sep 26, 2015 at 4:51

1 Answer 1


Should I also use a name for my system?

What are the advantage or disadvantage of it?

In the following, I will assume the author name "Mary Miller" and the system name "MSOAP" ("Miller's solution of all problems"), as well as the additional author name "Oswald Otherman" for the sake of explanation.


  • It will be easier for other authors to refer to your work. Rather than a convoluted expression such as "the system proposed by Miller", they can simply write "MSOAP".
  • Work by other authors that directly extends the original system can continue using the same name. Rather than "Otherman's extension of the system proposed by Miller", it is "Otherman's MSOAP variant", or (if the overall system structure remains the same) even still "MSOAP" (just with the reference to Otherman's work rather than Miller's, if it's the aspects introduced by Otherman that are actually talked about).
  • If the system was not created by one sole author (even if the scientific contribution focused in the first paper that mentions the system is by Miller), it is even much fairer to refer to the system with a name rather than linking it to a single author.
  • The system name is more specific for a certain work than the author's name. Even if the system might be expanded in several iterations, it is still probably centered around one core topic or approach. Hence, searching for "MSOAP" will always yield results related to the desired topic. At the same time, Mary Miller might create several different systems throughout her career that focus on wildly different things, so the same cannot be said about searching for "Mary Miller".


  • The name of the system's creator is not quite as apparent any more, as it does not directly pop up in each sentence referring to the system. However, the author name is by no means concealed; the system name "MSOAP" still provides a very good starting point for finding more information about the project (including attribution), and the reference to thus-related papers in the bibliography contains the author information, as well. Therefore, whoever wants to know who contributed to MSOAP will face no real obstacles finding out.


  • Finding unique system names is increasingly difficult. "MSOAP" might refer to a number of unrelated projects. On the other hand, the same can be said about an author's name, as "Miller" is not in any way less ambiguous.
  • Another issue with a self-chosen system name, as suggested by jakebeal, could be that you pick a name that you do not like any more at a later point in time. On the other hand, you might also dislike your personal name. If you do not pick a name for your system, there is even a slight chance that people citing your work end up associating it with a name that you do not like. Your mileage may vary on which one of these is least desirable or most likely.

Therefore, my conclusion is: By all means, do whoever wants to refer to your work a favour and provide a name for your system.

Are there any conventions or guidelines for it or for the names?

No, and there are various factors that influence why there is no general answer to this question:

  • First of all, this is very field-specific. Some communities might enjoy reading fancy names that contain some kind of slight jokes or at least convey something in a witty acronym (like this one: Schürr, A.: PROGRES, A Visual Language and Environment for PROgramming with Graph REwriting Systems. Technical Report, RWTH Aachen, Germany, 1994.), whereas others might have a strong preference towards more descriptive names.
  • For systems developed as a part of a larger project, it can be a nice touch to pick a uniform naming scheme. (As a fictional example, there could be "MSOAP", "MSOAP-W" for weather-related solutions, "MSOAP-L" for literature-related solutions, and so on.)
  • Maybe you even want to develop a certain recognizeable style as an author and therefore try to establish a uniform method of naming your systems over the years.

As a clarification, system names need by no means always be acronyms. A system name such as "Ultimate Solution" is totally fine. Just provide something that can be used as a (composite) noun.

  • 3
    Another disadvantage of naming is that you can get stuck with a name that you later decide you don't like.
    – jakebeal
    Jul 12, 2015 at 12:36
  • 1
    @Ahmad: It's FU.C.K. Please don't misspell or mispronounce it :-)
    – Bergi
    Jul 12, 2015 at 18:01
  • @Bergi you mean with that ornament, it is OK that I use it in a work?
    – Ahmad
    Jul 12, 2015 at 18:05
  • 1
    @Ahmad: Of course not, because it's inevitable that something like FU.C.K. will be misspelled or at least mispronounced, and usually you wouldn't want that. Even using it as a joke, or as a name for a "bad sample", would be controversial, and I'd advise against it.
    – Bergi
    Jul 12, 2015 at 18:11
  • 1
    @Bergi Well, I just thought maybe academia sustain such acronyms. anyway, I didn't find a better "bad sample" to say my meaning. As some words may have meaning we are not aware of, we always should do a check for the acronyms we make. However, we may miss a good phrase.
    – Ahmad
    Jul 12, 2015 at 18:25

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