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May 16, 2002

Michael Mewhinney

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-3937 or 650/604-9000

Michael Kuczkowski

The Dilenschneider Group, New York, NY

Phone: 917/865-3213 or (212) 922-0900 ext. 102



NASA and a coalition of leading global businesses, world-class software developers and federal agencies led by Carnegie Mellon University, today announced the formation of the Sustainable Computing Consortium (SCC). The groundbreaking collaborative is designed to protect the nation’s computing infrastructure and improve 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, information technology developers and public policy experts, the SCC aims to be an essential forum and resource for matters relating to software development.

"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, in California’s Silicon Valley. "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."

The purpose of the SCC is to foster the development of standards and methodologies to reduce software defects while quantifying and reducing the risks software flaws pose to the nation’s computing infrastructure. At the same time, the SCC will bring together global businesses, software industry leaders and public policy experts to address technical, legal, economic and policy issues surrounding sustainable computing. Finally, the SCC will conduct independent research, provide measurement and design tools, and document best practices to quantify and improve software quality, dependability and security.

"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 ground-breaking research on software economics, risk management, auditing and liability."

The SCC will leverage nearly $30 million in research grants and membership commitments. 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, and the 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 the SCC.

"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."

An InformationWeek survey of IT professionals released today indicated that 89 percent of organizations that use IT have experienced software defects resulting in higher costs or lost revenue. 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 Sustainable Computing Consortium is an important and valuable step toward achieving that goal and I applaud Carnegie Mellon for its leadership on this issue."

"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 High Dependability Computing Program (HDCP) in the School of Computer Science, funded by NASA; the Software Engineering Institute, home to the federally funded Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordination Center; and the ISRI, which houses the Information Technology Services Qualification Center (ITSQC), a source of standards for rating outsourcing firms.

For more information about the Sustainable Computing Consortium, visit their web site at:



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