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Names for Pills


Recently I responded to a request from a client to create a name for a pill. I thought this was somewhat unique and challenging. So what did I do? I simply used a technique that I have used in many other applications, and that is random sampling.

I first noted the names of successful pills. For example, "viagra", "cialis", and so on. I noted their structures. For example, CVVCCV for "viagra" and CVVCVC for "cialis", where C means a consonant and V means a vowel.

Next, I simply sampled from V = {a, e, i, o, u, y} and C = {b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, z} at random with uniform probability. I can generate thousands of potentially good names with a button press.

Then I'd simply manually review the list for names that sound good to me and keep those. Here are some examples:

You can also enumerate (fancy word for count) the total possible names for a structure. For example, the CVVCCV structure can have N = 20*6*6*20*20*6 = 1,728,000 possible names.

I hope this short article gives you some idea of the power of a simple concept like random sampling. Of course, this method can be used for not just names of pills, but names of just about anything (aliens in Star Trek, pets, characters in a story, towns in a movie, etc.). The manual review can also be sped up significantly, and in some situations eliminated. Thanks for reading!

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