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A Message from the Director and Chief Executive Officer

For our nation’s defense and national security organizations, disruptive technology events and circumstances abound, such as technology advancements and new regulatory mandates. The mission of the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute is to spur transformational impact for our sponsor, the Department of Defense, in the midst of those disruptions.

At the SEI, our people always seek ways to fulfill our mission. When the DoD recognized the threat of cyber intrusion as a present danger, for instance, the SEI brought together a community to build the discipline of cybersecurity engineering, which has transformed the way software is acquired, operated, and protected. To give the DoD confidence in its mission-critical systems, the SEI created and transitioned software architecture practices. Today, as advances in data management and computing power enable a greater role for artificial intelligence, the SEI leads a nationwide effort to form an AI engineering discipline to build and use AI-enabled systems that are robust and secure, scalable, and human centered.



We remain consistent in our mission focus to trigger and enable transformational impact for our sponsor.

Paul Nielsen SEI Director and CEO

Our story continues to be written because everyone at the SEI is committed to shaping the future of software. For example, our Safety Analysis and Fault Detection Isolation and Recovery Synthesis research project is producing the means for future weapon systems to detect failures, recover from their effects, and reconfigure to adapt to new situations—all without human intervention.

In addition, our ongoing work to enable the evaluation of aerial object detectors that incorporate machine learning and with the U.S. Air Force Long-Range Standoff weapon are other examples of how we catalyze transformational change.

We remain consistent in our mission focus to trigger and enable transformational impact for our sponsor. We work in collaboration with researchers at CMU and other universities; in combination with customers in all service branches and many federal agencies; through leadership positions in the world’s foremost software engineering professional societies; and with the strength of a work culture and environment that cultivates and grows diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Paul Nielsen


Read the stories of the 2022 Year in Review

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 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, data sets, 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.