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Press Release

Contact: Michael Kuczkowski
(917) 865-3213 or (212) 922-0900 ext. 102

For immediate release:
May 20, 2002

Carnegie Mellon Forms Groundbreaking Consortium To Lead Development of "Sustainable Computing"
Initiative Involves Top Business, Industry Leaders in Technical, Management and Public Policy Issues Surrounding Software Reliability

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 16, 2002—Carnegie Mellon University and a coalition of leading global businesses, world-class software developers and federal agencies today announced the formation of the Sustainable Computing Consortium (SCC), a new groundbreaking collaborative initiative aimed at protecting the nation's computing infrastructure and improving the reliability of its information technology systems.

This marks the first time that such a broad-based group of stakeholders has been formed to address issues relating to software dependability, quality and security. Software defects cost global business an estimated $175 billion in 2001. With the participation of top businesses, IT developers and public policy experts, the SCC aims to be an essential forum and resource for matters relating to software development.

The SCC will leverage nearly $30 million in existing research grants and member commitments, including an initial seed grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Software Industry Center. Founding SCC members include: AIG, Alcoa, Caterpillar, Cisco, CMP Media LLC, Confluence, General Atlantic Partners, Mellon Financial Corp., Merck, Microsoft, NASA, Oracle, Pfizer, Raytheon, RedSiren Technologies, Reed Smith, Tata Consultancy Services, UPMC Health System. In addition, Carnegie Mellon's two-year-old High Dependability Computing Consortium, which includes 15 software industry companies and NASA, will form a High Dependability Working Group within SCC.

"The issue of ensuring software quality and security is one of the most important technical and public policy issues facing the nation and the world," said Jeffrey Hunker, dean of Carnegie Mellon's H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management. "The mission of the SCC and its members will be to drive new developments in information technology and to produce groundbreaking research on software economics, risk management, auditing and liability."

The purpose of the SCC is to:

  • Foster the development of standards and methodologies to reduce software defects.
  • Quantify and reduce the risks software flaws pose to the nation's computing infrastructure.
  • Bring together global businesses, software industry leaders and public policy experts to address technical, legal, economic and policy issues surrounding sustainable computing.
  • Conduct independent research, provide measurement and design tools, and document best practices to quantify and improve software quality, dependability and security.

"Carnegie Mellon has long been a leader in technology innovation," said James H. Morris, dean of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science. "As we have continued our research on computer software standards and dependability, it has become clear that a host of technical, business, social and public policy issues must be confronted in order to achieve our goals. Carnegie Mellon has a singular breadth of multidisciplinary expertise to apply to these problems, and we are excited to work with this broad range of industry, business and government leaders to help develop solutions."

A survey of IT professionals released today by InformationWeek, a consortium participant through its parent company CMP Media LLC, indicated that 89 percent of organizations that use IT have experienced software defects that have resulted in higher costs or lost revenue to their organizations. Some 62 percent of respondents said the

software industry was doing an unsatisfactory job of ensuring that commercial software is bug-free.

"We live in an increasingly interconnected world, where technology plays a significant role in our lives," said Scott Charney, chief security strategist for Microsoft Corp. "As a result, it is imperative that we be able to depend on that technology to be consistently reliable and resilient. The creation of the SCC is an important and valuable step toward achieving that goal and I applaud Carnegie Mellon for its leadership on this issue. Microsoft is proud to be a founding member of the SCC and is committed to working with the IT industry, government, research community and others to drive improvements in software and work to provide a more trustworthy computing experience for everyone."

"Having worked with Carnegie Mellon on a number of initiatives relating to software dependability, we are pleased to see the university take on an initiative of this scope and scale," said Dr. Henry McDonald, director, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "It is clear that our nation's computing infrastructure demands this kind of collaborative initiative, bringing together major players in business, industry and government to address these issues."

"It's a fact that 21st century life depends upon computing systems operating reliably. Customers should no longer allow good enough' to be the standard they rely upon for mission-critical applications and therefore should insist software to be resilient and built with quality in mind from a product's inception," said Ken Jacobs, vice president of product strategy for Oracle's Server Technologies division. "As a founding member of the SCC, Oracle will help drive technology to a new standard of security, reliability and availability."

"In the last 10 years, Merck's business has seen tremendous gains using technology, from systems supporting Research and Development through Manufacturing and Sales, allowing us to increase productivity and greatly improve efficiency," said Clark Golestani, executive director of IS Global Computing Services, Merck & Co., Inc. "With the increasing pervasiveness and complexity of these systems, however, it is now vital that we begin to create specifications and standards and develop ways to manage the risk associated with software quality and security issues. We are pleased to be support this collaborative effort to work toward such solutions."

Ty R. Sagalow, chief operating officer of AIG eBusiness Risk Solutions, the largest provider of Internet-related risk insurance, said the SCC's efforts to produce standard risk measurement tools would be an important aid to New Economy risks. "AIG's business involves developing a total risk management approach for New Economy exposures including computer hacking, personal identity theft and successful virus transmissions combining insurance, best-in-class technology and high quality risk information," Sagalow said. "Chief financial officers are looking for a way to quantify the risk of software failures and security breaches. We look forward to working with the SCC to quantify these exposures and develop practical financial tools that companies can bring to bear on their risk management needs from a return-on-investment perspective."

"We live in a digital world," said SCC Director William Guttman, distinguished service professor of economics and technology at Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School. "It is a world of staggering complexity and scale, in which software plays an increasingly vital role in our daily lives. It is critical that business, industry, technology and public policy experts come together now to ensure that software meets the standards of quality, dependability and security that our modern world requires."

Co-directors of the SCC include: William L. Scherlis, principal research scientist at the Institute for Software Research International (ISRI), a division of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science; and Ashish Arora, associate professor of economics and public policy at the Heinz School. The SCC will leverage resources at several existing Carnegie Mellon research entities, including the Software Industry Center at the Heinz School, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; the HDCP, funded by NASA, in the School of Computer Science; the Software Engineering Institute, home to the federally funded Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordination Center; and ISRI which houses the Information Technology Services Qualification Center (ITSQC), a source of standards for rating outsourcing firms.

About Carnegie Mellon University Carnegie Mellon is a national research university of about 7,500 students and 3,000 faculty, research and administrative staff. Founded in 1900 by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the university is home to seven colleges and schools, the Carnegie Institute of Technology (engineering), the College of Fine Arts, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Mellon College of Science, the Graduate School of Industrial Administration, the School of Computer Science and the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management. For more information, visit http://www.cmu.edu/

About the Sustainable Computing Consortium The Sustainable Computing Consortium (SCC) is a collaborative initiative among major corporate information technology users, software developers, suppliers, academic leaders and government agencies to improve software quality, dependability and security. It draws on the expertise of its members and research faculty in all disciplines related to sustainable software, including computer science, electrical engineering, security and survivability, information technology management, statistics, economics and public policy. For more information, visit http://www.sustainablecomputing.org/

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