I hope I'm not out of line asking this, but I thought it was especially important for this beta, since there is fairly large potential for confusion with computer science.SE.

So, in the vein of such questions on previous betas, but without the emphasis on domain names, what should this site be called?

I guess that the name should also take into consideration the potential for future logos/graphic design, and also compatibility with site taglines and scope.

(Note: this should be a community wiki, I can't make it one)


4 Answers 4


I originally broached this topic in Why does the URL for this Stack Exchange use "scicomp," but the title says "Computational Science"?. Long story short, if we absolutely had to change the name, I'd change it to "Scientific Computing & Computational Science". I'd rather not change the name unless there was an outcry of disapproval over the current site name.

Right now, the main good things about our site name is that it accurately reflects the intended scope of the site, and it's short (2 words). However, it has several disadvantages:

  • Cognitive dissonance: the site is "Computational Science", so people sometimes call us "CompSci"
  • Similarity to Computer Science: we are never going to get "compsci" for a URL, ever
  • Dyslexic URL: we're SciComp, not "CompSci"
  • Common two-letter short-hand: CS is also used by Cognitive Science and Computer Science

We could switch to "Scientific Computing", which would solve all of those problems, but then, as Deathbreath correctly points out, the site name wouldn't accurately encapsulate our intended scope, thus creating a big new problem. For people in the know, "Scientific Computing" has fundamentally different connotations than "Computational Science".

The least worrisome problem is length of site name, which is why I'd rather have "Scientific Computing & Computational Science", even though it's five (four-and-a-half?) words, and that's only if there's a real outcry to change the name. Yes, I know scientific computing is a subset of computational science, but the fact is, we can't start our name with "computational science" and dodge the problems I outlined above. It's a kludge, but it's the best kludge I can come up with if the naming thing becomes so much of a problem that we have to change it.

  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking more along the lines of StackOverflow, ServerFault, and CrossValidated - Names that are a little metaphorical, roll off the tongue easily. Something to do with the history of scientific computing, perhaps, are problems knowledge related directly to the field. If you leave it a the literal name, you're ALWAYS going to have some confusion. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Mar 30, 2012 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ Also, note that I specified no emphasis on domain name. There is another question for that, as you already pointed out. $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Mar 30, 2012 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ @naught101: We won't be able to get a "metaphorical name" until we get out of beta. And as for the domain name, relationship to the current domain name is an important point, because the domain name is how people refer to the site right now (and will be, for a while; even people refer to CrossValidated informally as Stats.SE). $\endgroup$ Mar 31, 2012 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ Then this question is for when we get out of beta :) $\endgroup$
    – naught101
    Mar 31, 2012 at 2:36
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    $\begingroup$ Sadly my suggestion of Computational Science and Engineering (cse.stackexchange.com) never really gained enough traction, partially because it came up with it long after the other proposals and seeing the debate around them. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Booth
    Aug 28, 2012 at 10:27

I think Scientific Computing is a good name... Though the phrase "Computational Science" is familiar to most of us, the untrained eye can easily read it as "Computer Science".

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Scientific Computing has connotations with high-performance computing. Computational Science emphasizes the fact that (physical) science is being performed using computers, i.e., the computation is the experiment. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2012 at 15:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ From a quick glance over the first few questions (not a proper sample, of course), a lot of the content does seem to be about the computing more than the science. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Mar 30, 2012 at 18:58

We have discussed this a number of times in the past, initially in 'announcements' (which have now mostly been deleted) and then in my Area 51 discussion and also in other discussions.

After initially supporting a change to Scientific Computing I now strongly support Computational Science (though I still think you get the best of both worlds with Computational Science and Engineering *8'). It is now far too late to change my 'vote' though, and I think that we have moved on from those discussions. Views do change over time, and I think it would be unfair to take too much stock in a set of votes which were cast before much of the current debate helped to thrash out final name.

As it is, if you really feel that our name is a problem, then please provide some examples of questions on Computer Science which should have been on Computational Science, since I can recall no specific instances of questions submitted to Computational Science which were off topic and should have been on Computer Science.


What about something like

Newton's Calculator


  • Immediately implies real-world science.
  • Implies computation.
  • Includes a historical aspect.


  • Relates to only one field (albeit probably one of the first fields to use computers for science).
  • Doesn't imply anything about the question and answer nature of the site.
  • Relies on the whole "standing on the shoulders of giants" myth (famous individual).

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