ONE OF the world's longest-running conferences on artificial intelligence (AI) has changed its acronym after complaints from several groups.
The Neural Information Systems Processing conference takes place next month in Montreal, Canada, and after 31 conferences, is still one of the most important in the world on the subject.
For the past three decades, it has used the acronym "NIPS" for the conference, but in these PC times, that no longer passes muster.
Women have objected to the male-dominated conference being known by a shortened slang word for boobies, whilst Japanese delegates are concerned that "Nip" is a derogatory term for their country-persons, dating from the Second World War.
There was even a Bugs Bunny cartoon from the era called "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips" which unsurprisingly isn't in regular rotation on Boomerang.
Of course, "nip" can also mean naked, as in Father Ted, where Dougal suddenly realises "those women were in the nip!".
The conference blog, still currently hosted at nips.cc, says: "Something remarkable has happened in our community. The name NeurIPS has sprung up organically as an alternative acronym, and we're delighted to see it being adopted. Indeed, one forward-thinking member of the community purchased neurips.com and described the site's purpose as "...host[ing] the conference content under a different acronym... until the board catches up."
This year, delegates will see a newly designed logo, replacement signage and merch and all those taking part have been asked to stop showing NIPS in public.
A delegate has also bought "neurips.cc" and has donated it to the community. Ironically, this is an anagram of "pincers" which are capable of nipping, so we're not that far from where we started. Another one is "uprisen" which is more accurate.
The conference this year sold out in just ten minutes, proving that no matter what the acronym, there's a huge demand for NIPS. Sorry, NeurIPS.
Ruins the gag a bit, that. μ
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