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Third-level Domain Names

Naming Conventions 

The network at Carnegie Mellon is shared by the many departments within the university. Third-level domain names, which appear before the "" part of a computer's full name, are generally used to indicate which department owns or administrates a machine.

The following illustrates the parts of a typical computer name at Carnegie Mellon:

For example:

In the first example above, "as" is the third-level domain, indicating that this machine is administrated by Administrative Systems). In the second example, "andrew" is the third-level domain for this computer. Computers that are not assigned to another third-level domain are generally assigned to the "andrew" third-level domain by default (student-owned computers in residence halls are assigned to the "res" third-level domain by default).

To further illustrate how third-level domain names work, compare your computer name to a home address. Universities and other educational institutions all reside in the "edu" domain. If we consider the "edu" domain to be analogous to a state, like Pennsylvania, we can consider "cmu" to be something like a city within that state and the third-level domain name to be a street within that city. Machine names, like "hamlet", "synergy", etc., are like the houses along those streets.

Because the changes to the third-level domain name structure require coordination with multiple departments on campus, we try to minimize the amount of modifications by imposing some restriction on those changes. These restrictions also ensure that the third-level domain structure remains somewhat manageable and easily maintained.

Using the home address analogy explained above, adding houses to an existing street is fairly simple, but creating a new street requires a great deal more work. Also, adding new streets on which only one house will be built is somewhat expensive and creates more maintenance work than necessary.

Domain Name Creation

Computing Services will create a single third-level domain for any department or administrative group that meets the following criteria:

  1. Situations in which fifty (50) or more computers are:
    • owned by a single administrative or academic department or other organizational group and comprise the whole of the computers owned by that department
    • are maintained by a designated system administrator or team of system administrators(s).
  2. The group or department is one of the university's colleges (CIT, MCS, SCS, etc.) or any academic department that issues undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degrees.
  3. The group or department is headed by a Vice-President.
  4. The group or department reports directly to the Provost.

In the case of such requests, the third-level domain name must identify the group (e.g.,,, and only one third-level domain may be requested.

Not Permitted

The following naming conventions are not allowed:

  • Names deemed to be offensive or obscene by the university
  • Any name which misrepresents the machine by making it appear to be a "service" system (FTP-ANDREW, SOFTDIST, VICE4, etc.) or a system representing a CMU department or group (HOUSING, REGISTRAR, PSYCHOLOGY, etc.) when it does not.
  • Any name which places the machine in an inaccurate domain (e.g., Psychology Department machines should not be placed in the ECE.CMU.EDU domain).