Naming Von Nuemann SpaceCraft


So first off, if you don’t know what a Von Nueman Universal Constructor is, you should probably Google it.
This article will also be helpful for understanding what I’m talking about (it’s also really interesting)

So I’m wondering what people think the best way to name/number each ship in this scenario would be. (Thinking about maybe writing a story)
I was thinking one way to do it would be to name the first ship [1]
The first ship made by [1] would be called [1][1] and the second [1][2] and so on.
The ship [1][1] would first make [1][1][1] then [1][1][2] then [1][1][3]then
The ship [1][3][6][8][4]'s eleventh ship made would be [1][3][6][8][4][11]
And so on and so forth. Here’s a picture I made to help explain:

(sorry, frame two should show [1]–>[1][1])

Obviously, since every ship made would be [1]… We could remove the [1] from each name. I’m taking a high school Java class and today we learned about literals and hexadecimal stuff and whatnot.

I’m wondering what would be a good alternative way to name each ship so they followed these rules as best as possible:

  1. No two ships would be named the same thing.
  2. It’s name would take up a small amount of data bits/bytes
  3. It’s name would be short enough to write on the side of each ship for the most possible generations (eventually you’d run out of space regardless of how well compact it is)
  4. The names will let you know each ship’s geneology.

A few ideas I had were:
separating by decimals, ie [1][3][52][7] becomes
Alternating letters and numbers (where a=1 b=2 z=26) (mostly to save physical space when painting name on ship) ie [1][3][52][29] becomes 1C52AS
Using less-human-friendly naming like a bar code or QR code or maybe using all sorts of Unicode symbols.


Heiiiyyyyyy… Where you’ve been, twig? Long time no see (although I know you visit the forum quite often, at least 'til Septem…)

Anyway, back to topic.

I assume every single craft can create infinite number of its own replica, given the time, huh? :thinking:
If that’s the case, I think using alternating letter-number method won’t be effective (since you only have finite amount of numbers and letters)

To follow the rules num 1 and 3, my idea will be

  • Using low-case letters, hi-case letters, and numbers.
  • Assign number 1 to “a”, 2 to “b”, 26 to “a”, 27 to “A”, and so forth.
  • This way, we effectively create a 64-decimal system. The rule will be similar to hexadecimal (0 - F) and normal decimal (0 - 9), if you know what I’m talking about.
  • Later, we can use any symbol to be used as separator to identify the parent/sibling/child relationship between each craft.

Now I’m not really a computer guy so I can’t take account of the 2nd rule, but :point_up_2:t4: that idea of mine is probably the most compact and shortest naming system I can think of :sweat_smile:


Hey, yeah I’ve been busy with school.
another thing that can47. be added stop that is replacing something like
With 1N47b1^3Q27^2

This probably won’t be too practical, however since only ships with certain names could do it, but it would shave off the 1.a.1.a.1.a.1… That’s bound to be on a ton of ships