In the seminal distributed systems paper The Part Time Parliament (the Paxos protocol), Leslie Lamport names fictional legislators who are involved in the Paxon parliament protocol.

According to this writing, he notes that:

I gave the Greek legislators the names of computer scientists working in the field, transliterated with Guibas's help into a bogus Greek dialect.

Does anyone have any information on the scientists that the legislators are named after? A list of the legislators in the paper and the corresponding computer scientists would be the ideal answer.

I think the first legislator mentioned in the paper, "Λινχ∂", is named after Nancy Lynch since it could be pronounced as "Linch". Also, "Λεωνίδας Γκίμπας" from the bibliography is Leo Guibas. I'm completely lost as to who the others are.

  • $\begingroup$ Please note, I originally posted this question to stackoverflow because it seems like an "enthusiast" question (there's really no science involved), but it was flooded with close votes and it was suggested to move here. So, I deleted the original post and created this one. $\endgroup$ May 31, 2013 at 15:31
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    $\begingroup$ Hint: look at the bibliography. A good answer to this question would not just state the correspondence but also explain why each name was chosen for each role (I think there are topical allusions for some of them). $\endgroup$ May 31, 2013 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles Thanks for the hint! I'm still working through the paper and didn't notice the bibliography yet. $\endgroup$ May 31, 2013 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ @JonBringhurst: History of computer science (even anecdotes like that) is part of computer science and clearly on-topic here (IMHO). $\endgroup$
    – frafl
    May 31, 2013 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


This is an educated guess of the transliterated names I could find in the Paxos paper. Most of these are people mentioned in the paper's references.

  • Λ˘ινχ∂: Lynch, N. - Legislator
  • Φισ∂ερ: Fischer, M. J. - Legislator
  • Tωυεγ: Toueg, S. - Legislator
  • Ωκι: Oki, B. M. - Legislator
  • ∆ωλεφ: Dolev, D. - Farmer
  • Σκεεν: Skeen, M. D. - Merchant
  • Στωκµε˘ιρ: Stockmeyer, L. - Legislator
  • Στρωνγ: (Strong/Strang?) - Legislator
  • ∆φωρκ: Dwork, C. - President
  • ∆˘ικστρα: Dijkstra, E. W. - Cheese inspector
  • Γωυδα: (Gouda) - Cheese inspector
  • Φρανσεζ: Francez, N. - Wine taster
  • Πνυeλ˘ι: Pnueli, A. - Wine taster
  • Σ∂ν˘ιδερ: Schneider, F. B. - Citizen
  • Γρεες: (Greece) - Citizen
  • Λαµπσων: Lampson, B. - General
  • Λισκωφ: Liskov, B. H. - Merchant
  • Παρνας: Parnas, D. - Elder statesman
  • Γρα˘ι: Gray, C. G. - Priest
  • Λινσε˘ι: Lindsey, B. G. - Priest
  • $\begingroup$ @YuvalFilmus, perhaps you should edit the list to complete it/fix mistakes $\endgroup$
    – vonbrand
    Dec 30, 2015 at 12:14
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    $\begingroup$ Great list! A few tweaks: I believe "Tωυεγ" is probably Sam Toueg, not Tovey. Not sure who you mean with "C.H. Lindsey", maybe a more likely candidate is Bruce G Lindsay. "Preist" should be spelled "Priest". $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2016 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ Is a typographical error? It doesn't look like an actual Greek letter XD $\endgroup$
    – Rufflewind
    Feb 10 at 22:01

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