Canberra may not be quite what you thought it was…

Canberra is the name of a planet in the SF novels of USA author Vernor Vinge, notably his novel “A Fire Upon The Deep”. The planet Canberra once had a great civilisation but by the time of the novel has fallen back into a medieval style society.

The planet could have been named for the city of Canberra. However, Vinge is a retired Professor of Mathematics, so it is possible that the planet Canberra was named for the ‘Canberra distance’.

According to Wikipedia, “The Canberra distance is a numerical measure of the distance between pairs of points in a vector space, introduced in 1966 and refined in 1967 by G. N. Lance and W. T. Williams. It is similar to the Manhattan distance. It is mostly used for data scattered around the origin.”

The Distance does sound a lot like our city, with the city centre (origin) and its town centres scattered around it.

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One thought on “Canberra may not be quite what you thought it was…

  1. CyberMat July 16, 2012 / 18:10

    “data scattered around the origin” Is that like political spin? ;D

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