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A Message from the Director and Chief Executive Officer

Management consultants and human resources leaders have been describing COVID-driven alterations to how we work as our new normal. Organizations have adapted to the virus’s deadly effects by operating with enhanced telework rules, vaccination requirements, and greater awareness of workplace safety.

Many interpret the phrase new normal to mean that things will never be as they were before the pandemic. That may be in some respects.

The Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute has also adapted how we work in the pandemic. But what we do is very much the same. We continue to advance software as a strategic advantage for national security.




Driven by our organizational values, we work collaboratively within the SEI, with researchers at CMU and other leading universities, and with stakeholders in government and industry.

Paul Nielsen SEI Director and CEO

In 2021, for instance, we gathered a panel of world-renowned experts to develop a roadmap for software engineering research to enable future systems. We also coalesced years of applying artificial intelligence for national defense and security missions into a new AI Division. This technical organization will enhance our leadership of a national initiative to form an essential engineering discipline for AI.

We have been able to take these and other significant strides in an uncertain time for several reasons. Driven by our organizational values, we work collaboratively within the SEI, with researchers at CMU and other leading universities, and with stakeholders in government and industry.

Our collaborative approach rests on our organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Those outcomes enable our people to blend skills in areas such as computer science, accounting, data science, acquisition, and technical communications to serve the needs of our work sponsors.

In addition, CMU leadership has provided common-sense guidance to employee health and safety since the onset of the pandemic, giving the SEI a sure foundation on which to continue creating and delivering solutions for the most critical software issues.

For us at the SEI, the new normal continues to be full of anticipation for a future in which our national security collaborators, sponsors, and stakeholders will gain dominance through unsurpassed software engineering, cybersecurity, and AI.

Paul Nielsen

Execution Strategy

The SEI facilitates the transfer of research results to practice in Department of Defense (DoD) programs, the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s science and technology initiatives, and non-DoD U.S. government organizations where improvements will also benefit the DoD. In doing so, we gain deeper insight into mission needs—insight that forms the basis for new research. In addition, we transition matured technologies more broadly to defense industrial base organizations and others in the DoD software supply chain.


We collaborate at the nexus of government, industry, and academia to integrate research in artificial intelligence, software, and cybersecurity to develop and pilot prototype tools, build and transition innovative solutions, and provide input for our sponsor’s policy decisions about software and related technologies. Through ongoing research and development and communication with customers, the SEI identifies priority areas for further research and development. Through our study approach, we generate academic and theoretical reports, presentations, and books on gaps or issues in those areas. We make software tools, processes, datasets, analytic approaches, and training materials to mitigate those gaps or issues. We combine our body of knowledge with external material and systems engineering to deliver, through transition and transfer activities, quantitative impact to a U.S. government organization, DoD organization, or DoD end user.