Thursday, 7 June 2012

Holy moley - A blessed ordering of atoms

I know I shouldn't cast the first stone but sometimes only a saint could turn the other cheek.

Here's some background from Wikipedia:
In computer science, canonicalization (...also sometimes standardization or normalization) is a process for converting data that has more than one possible representation into a "standard", "normal", or canonical form.
Not to be confused with Canonization...
Canonization (or canonisation) is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints.
...and here are some papers from JCICS:
MOLGEN-CID - A Canonizer for Molecules and Graphs Accessible through the Internet 
The Signature Molecular Descriptor. 4. Canonizing Molecules Using Extended Valence Sequences

A search of ACS publications shows seven references to canonizer in total, and 32 references to canonization.

Okay, so I'm a native speaker, and yes, I mispell words too. I still think it's funny. :-)


Volker Hähnke said...

I have faced the problem of how to call it myself a couple of times, as my previous work dealt with unambiguous representations of molecules as line notations. And as far as I know, it really is called "canonization" in the context of graph theory, not "canonicalization". It didn't make any sense to me, so I went with what I could find in the already available literature and did not worry any further.

But sometimes it caused some amusement when I presented my work to native speaker. I think the real meaning of "canonization" is not apparent to non-native speakers. We just hear "canon..." and think we know or can guess what it means, so I myself never had a real problem using that word.

It would be interesting to know where the usage of "canonization" in this context originated from.

All the best,

baoilleach said...

Hi Volker, indeed it may not so simple a story as I presented. It would be good to find out for sure if it is canonization for graph theory as I guess that makes it a more legitimate choice. It is difficult though as a native speaker (especially from Ireland!) to use canonization in a technical sense.

Egon Willighagen said...

Noel, what do you make of this Wikipedia article then?

That seems to support Volker's comment...

baoilleach said...

I saw it, but there's some discussion on the talk page about whether it's the right title or not.

But yes, I realise it's inconsistent to quote Wikipedia articles as evidence, and then dismiss another Wikipedia article that disagrees. That's the difference between a blog post and a journal article :-)