Machine Learning Roller Derby Names


I have several friends who do roller derby, and one of my favorite things about the culture is the derby name. This is a fun way for skaters to express their personalities through witty, satirical, and mock-violent alter-egos. Since most of my derby friends also have PhDs in computer science, machine learning, or statistics, they can be wonderfully nerdy, too.

A while back I was at a bout here in Pittsburgh to cheer on Ada Bloodlace and Angela Momentum (the latter now skates in Austin TX, which is like roller derby Mecca). Afterward, we got to talking about derby names and our colleague Logistic Aggression. My brain just started spinning with punny possibilities for computer and data science themed derby names. I recently unearthed a list of these, to which I added a few new ones:

  • Donna Matrix
  • Crash Function
  • Touring Machine
  • Finite Skate Machine
  • Smack-Propagation (which later morphed into the title of this blog)
  • Slamming Distance
  • Polly Nomial
  • Tara Bites
  • Horn Claws
  • Trample Bias
  • Hittin’ Variable
  • Gradient Dissent
  • Iterative Impaling
  • Smackdown Atomaton
  • Conditional Random Wheels
  • Bloodsport Vector Machine
  • Minimum Slamming Tree
  • Smack Overflow
  • NP-Hard Hitter
  • Em Cryption
  • Parity Hit
  • Dee Bugger
  • Suzie Queue

Someone suggested “Halting Problem,” but according to Angela Momentum, that one’s already taken by a skater in Austin. One could also use the hexadecimal encoding of her jersey number as a derby name (e.g., Abbe/43966, Becca/781514, Deb/3563, Fae/4014), but that might be too oblique.

Anyway, if you do derby — or are considering it — feel free to use any of these names on the track! Just give me a high five if we ever meet in person.

Speaking of derby girls and machine learning, the WiML Workshop is looking for organizers for this year’s event in Montreal. The deadline is Feb 29, 2016!

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