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Press Release

Contact: Chriss Swaney
(412) 268-5776

For immediate release:
April 5, 2001

Carnegie Mellon Receives $1.8 Million from Sloan Foundation To Start Software Center

PITTSBURGH‹Carnegie Mellon University has received $1.8 million from the Sloan Foundation to create the Software Industry Center, which will explore a variety of industry issues, including how different software practices are better suited to certain business environments.

Center researchers will focus on four areas of interest: innovation and new business models, software development, human capital and globalization.

"The center is being developed with a strong commitment to perform industry-relevant research and to broadcast the findings broadly to boost industry performance," said Donald J. McGillen, executive director of the Software Industry Center.

Because software is used in every sector of the economy, the center will feature an interdisciplinary mix of scholars from the School of Computer Science, the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, the Graduate School of Industrial Administration and the Software Engineering Institute.

"The software industry has become what oil and steel were 50 years ago - the engine of economic growth and the provider of good, high-paying jobs," said Jeffrey Hunker, dean of the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management. "With the new Software Industry Center, Carnegie Mellon has an important tool to better understand and assist the software industry and promote its growth throughout the Pittsburgh region."

"Software systems will approach the complexity of cities," said James H. Morris, dean of the School of Computer Science. "To understand them, we will need a new breed of thinker who views systems the way city planners do and the new Software Industry Center might break through to such a new intellectual discipline."

Old business models that emphasized fixed assets, working capital and economies of scale have become increasingly vulnerable to nimbler organizations that employ new technologies to reduce costs. Leading edge technology that will be developed at Carnegie Mellon's new software center will enable workers on the bottom rungs of the organization to seize opportunity as it arises, McGillen said.

The center will develop guidelines to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to better exploit rapid advances in information and software technologies. Research will be conducted at Pittsburgh-area engineering and manufacturing companies.

In addition to Sloan Foundation funding, the new center will receive funding from the Pennsylvania Technology Investment Authority and the Software Engineering Institute's Technology Insertion Demonstration and Evaluation Program, as well as membership fees from corporate sponsors. Center co-directors are Richard Florida and Mary Shaw of Carnegie Mellon. Ashish Arora of the Heinz School will be the center's research director.

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