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Press Release

Kelly Kimberland

For immediate release:
February 15, 2005

Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute's Watts Humphrey Awarded Prestigious National Medal of Technology

Founder of SEI Software Process Program honored for contributions to software engineering community

Watts S. Humphrey
PITTSBURGH—Watts S. Humphrey, a fellow of the Carnegie Mellon' Software Engineering Institute (SEI) has been awarded the 2003 National Medal of Technology, the highest honor awarded by the President of the United States to America's leading innovators. A formal ceremony will take place March 14, 2005, at the White House.

"We have found by applying to software the principles that made the industrial revolution possible, software engineering teams can achieve improvements in quality, predictability and productivity that exceed our wildest dreams," Humphrey said. "We call this intellectualization and if industrialization was the great achievement of the 20th century, intellectualization is the great challenge of the 21st century."

The medal is given to individuals, teams and/or companies for their outstanding contributions to the nation's economic, environmental and social well-being through the development and commercialization of technology products, processes and concepts; technological innovation; and development of the nation's technological expertise.

Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon lauded Humphreys' contributions to the software engineering field. "Watts' leadership to the important discipline of software engineering has made a significant impact on the U.S. government, industry, and academia," Cohon said. "We are proud of Watts and his accomplishments."

Paul D. Nielsen, SEI director, attributes much of the SEI's success and its international reputation to Humphrey. "Watts has provided leadership, inspiration and dedication to software engineers and software development organizations worldwide," Nielsen said. "He has been the visionary for the quality software movement and for improving the processes used to develop software. The National Medal of Technology recognizes the broad impact Watts has had on the software industry. We applaud Watts on his award."

Humphrey came to the SEI in 1987 after 27 years with IBM Corporation. Since joining the SEI, Humphrey developed the basis for the Capability Maturity Model for Software (SW-CMM), which has become the generally accepted standard for assessing and improving software processes worldwide. Thousands of organizations throughout the world have used the SW-CMM, and it has been adapted for use in fields other than software engineering, with more than 120 different models in existence. The SW-CMM led to the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Product Suite, which was released in 2002.

In 1995, Humphrey expanded his original vision of software engineering discipline to include methods that improve the work-life of individual software engineers and their teams. He initiated and led the development and introduction of two new methods, the Personal Software Process (PSP) and Team Software Process (TSP), which have produced impressive results in the quest toward defect-free software.

Humphrey's strategic and transformational view of technology is summarized in his book, "Winning with Software" (Addison-Wesley, 2002). In this and his other books and writings, Humphrey asserts that the software industry has not learned the fundamental quality lesson already learned by other industries. "It takes longer and costs more money to produce poor quality products and try to fix them, than it does to do quality work in the first place. The SEI strategy is to show organizations how to economically produce and deliver much higher quality software. We must continue to show software developers how to produce high-quality, secure software."


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