Australia vs Austria

Having broken the back of making Eurovision as exciting as possible I have no been distracted by focusing on a very small problem - namely that of generating abbreviations for country names.

There's not much clashing going on, but in Eurovision this year, there was Australia & Austria as well as Belgium & Belarus. With the default three-letter abbreviation, there's a decision to be made about what abbreviation gets assigned to what country.

Having spent a bit of time to actually sit down and thing about this, it raises some interesting questions.

For starters, there is no three letter abbreviation of Austria using the letters in 'Austria' that could not also be the abbreviation of Australia.

That means, that ideally Australia should make sure it is defined in such a way that there is no doubt. An easy way would be to include the letter 'L' which Austria certainly doesn't have.

I'm just in the process of fine-tuning my algorithm, but for now I'm trying to do better than using 'Aus' for Australia and 'Aut' for Austria which seems to be the standard. After all - this only actually works if you know which abbreviation is assigned to which country - otherwise it's completely ambiguous.

[Image credit: Tim Ellis]