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Paul Nielsen

Director and CEO

Paul D. Nielsen is Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a leader in advancing software and cybersecurity to solve the nation’s toughest problems through focused research, development, and transition to the broad software engineering community. The SEI is a key innovator in areas central to the U.S. Department of Defense including software quality, artificial intelligence engineering, mission assurance, the integration of software-intensive systems, network and system resilience, and the increasing overlap of software and systems engineering. The SEI also provides direct support to U.S. government entities in their efforts to efficiently and effectively acquire and sustain software and systems.

Since joining the SEI in August 2004, Nielsen has overseen the development and expansion of CERT, which is responsible for the SEI’s network/cyber security efforts, and the growth of the SEI to an organization employing more than 700 employees with operating revenues of $150 million annually. In addition, he has overseen an increase in research activities related to software lifecycle engineering, autonomous systems, and cybersecurity to address both present and future challenges. In all areas, he has expanded interactions with key stakeholders, customers, and the global software engineering community. Prior to joining the SEI in 2004, Nielsen served in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a major general and commander of Air Force research after 32 years of distinguished service.

Nielsen is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA); the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); and the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). He has received awards for his service from the government, professional societies and regional organizations. He is a frequent speaker and panelist at conferences, workshops, and symposia and serves on several advisory boards including the Defense Science Board.

Nielsen holds PhD and MS degrees in Applied Science from the University of California (Davis), an MBA from the University of New Mexico, and a BS in Physics from the U.S. Air Force Academy.