# The worst notational abuse

I have lately been reading *Programming Distributed Computing Systems: A Foundational Approach*, by Carlos A. Varela, and so far been fairly impressed. The presentation has been clear, and the topics (the \(\pi\) calculus, actors, the join calculus, and mobile ambients) are things that I probably should already know more about than I do. But it has reminded me of the worst abuse of notation I am aware of, in theoretical computer science.

In the \(\pi\) calculus, computation occurs by processes exchanging messages across channels. Creating a channel (*roughly* the equivalent of introducing a new variable in a \(\lambda\) expression in that calculus) is done with the syntax:

where \(c\) is the new channels's name and \(P\) is the remainder of the process, where \(c\) is bound.

What is the Greek letter \(\nu\)? Nu. New \(c\), geddit?

*Sigh.*