Perhaps it's a trivial question, but why does the URL for this Stack Exchange use "scicomp," but the title of the Stack Exchange is "Computational Science"? I ask because the URL and the title seem inconsistent with respect to word order; I would've expected "Scientific Computing" as the title of the Stack Exchange based on the URL. I'm guessing part of the reason "scicomp" was used was to avoid using "compsci," which might confuse people looking to ask questions about computer science.

  • $\begingroup$ in the proposal phase on area51 people preferred the name "computational science" to "scientific computing". Check the related thread on area51 for the history of the arguments. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Feb 13, 2012 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ Check this and this. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Feb 13, 2012 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ I see. I find I have to fight the urge to call the site "Scientific Computing" after repeatedly referring to it using the term "SciComp". Occasionally, I see mods from other sites referring to it using language like "Scientific Computing"; I suppose I'll have to explain the distinction to them. $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2012 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ We refer to Theoretical Computer Science as cstheory and others also refer to it mostly as cstheory while the official title shown on top is different. So if the community chooses a name like "scicomp" and uses it consistently when referring to the site then others would follow the suit. It might still be possible to change the name (I am not sure but I think this might have happened on apple.se) but I am not sure it really worth the trouble, I think there need to be a quite strong support from the community of this site for SE to even consider it. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Feb 13, 2012 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


You've pretty much got it in your question; compsci is already a common shorthand for Computer Science in a number of spheres. (For example, where I grew up -- just north of Dallas.) To avoid confusion between that subject and this, we opted for scicomp when doing the URL naming.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think this is missing the purpose of the question, which I believe is "Why not title this group 'Scientific Computing?'" $\endgroup$ Dec 16, 2011 at 22:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I guess the answer to that is: that's not what computational science is, is it? Insofar as I can gather, using computers in science isn't really the same as scientifically using computers. $\endgroup$
    – Aarthi
    Dec 21, 2011 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ I think Computational Science approxi. = Scientific Computing right? $\endgroup$
    – Shuhao Cao
    Dec 27, 2011 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ I think Computational Science encompasses scientific computing, but not necessarily the reverse. Scientific Computing—as we tend to think of it today—focuses more on how to run things on big machines; computational science has the broader focus of how to use numerical methods to solve problems. $\endgroup$
    – aeismail
    Jan 13, 2012 at 9:30

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