Starting in the middle of 7 Essential Meta Questions of Every Beta: What's the brief pitch for what this site is all about? How can we describe the site in a way that will both describe its function and get the right people excited about joining and contributing?


2 Answers 2


"Computational Science" is a question and answer site where experts who use computational methods in their scientific or technical discipline may share knowledge of algorithms, techniques, and tools.

  • Like @Brian Diggs' proposal, this tacitly omits questions of programming details. Those should go to SO.

  • "Scientific or technical discipline" is intentionally slightly broader than "natural and social sciences" to be more inclusive of those who do not call themselves scientists. Loads of engineers do serious computation, and we want those people to feel welcomed.

  • Emphasized the fact that the site is for people who work in disparate fields to benefit from each others knowledge and experience. This goes to reinforce the point I made in this meta question -- that people should realize they are communicating with other experts, but not necessarily specialists in their own field.

  • Added the word "tools" because I personally feel that questions about the software we use are appropriate, but this word can be removed if the community decides otherwise.

  • Also like Brian Diggs' proposal, mine omits the word "numerical." In my case, this is intentional. Many computational problems are not numerical except in the trivial sense that a computer is ultimately doing numerical operations in order to implement your particular algorithm. In addition, "numerical" has the connotation of being an alternative to "analytical" -- numerical versus analytical solutions to a differential equation, for instance -- while many potential contributors would more readily describe their work as an instance of "statistics" or "statistical modeling"1, "simulation", "analysis," etc.

1: We will have a connection to stats.SE for this reason, but that is a different meta post!

  • $\begingroup$ I like the addition of tools to algorithms and techniques. It is (appropriately) broader than just "software". $\endgroup$ Nov 30, 2011 at 17:49

"Computational Science" is a question and answer site devoted to understanding techniques and algorithms related to solving problems in the natural and social sciences using computers.

  • Techniques and algorithms are mentioned with the exclusions of code and implementation; specific programming questions are (?) more appropriate to Stack Overflow.
  • Natural and social sciences is a pretty broad scope, which is appropriate.
  • Using computers is the clincher; we are using computational resources and techniques
  • I wanted to get "numerical" in there somewhere, but couldn't figure out where.
  • $\begingroup$ +1. Regarding getting "numerical" in there: how about "... to understanding numerical techniques and algorithms related to solving..."? My intent would be that 'numerical' refer both to techniques and to algorithms, but I don't think we'd need to include it twice. $\endgroup$
    – Erik P.
    Nov 29, 2011 at 22:12
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    $\begingroup$ But not all relevant algorithms or techniques will be numerical in nature. My group helps with an epidemiology simulation project whose numerical portions are minuscule. $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2011 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ I think that "nuemircal" should be left out. $\endgroup$
    – Dr_bitz
    Nov 30, 2011 at 8:32
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    $\begingroup$ Let's get some proposals (as separate answers) both with and without "numerical", so they can be voted up or down. $\endgroup$
    – mattdm
    Nov 30, 2011 at 12:45
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    $\begingroup$ I agree that specific programming questions should be migrated to SO. $\endgroup$
    – Colin K
    Nov 30, 2011 at 15:54

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