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Carnegie Mellon University Names Paul D. Nielsen Director of the Software Engineering Institute

Press Release

July 12, 2004

PITTSBURGH—U.S. Air Force Major General Paul D. Nielsen will become  chief executive officer and director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Software  Engineering Institute effective August 1, 2004.

“Paul Nielsen brings excellent skills and experience in managing a sponsored  research organization that will serve the Software Engineering Institute and  Carnegie Mellon University well,” said Carnegie Mellon President Jared  L. Cohon. “Paul will maintain the SEI’s leadership in developing  best practices in software engineering and computer security and expand the  SEI’s impact in both the commercial and government software engineering  communities.”

Nielsen, 53, who will be retiring from the Air Force August 1, 2004, recently  relinquished command of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson  Air Force Base in Ohio, where he managed a science and technology budget of  more than $3 billion annually. He also was the Air Force’s chief technology  officer, determining the Air Force’s investment strategy for science and  technology activities. (See attached biography.)

As CEO and director, Nielsen’s responsibilities will include setting  a technical and business strategy for the Software Engineering Institute. The  SEI is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S.  Department of Defense and operated by Carnegie Mellon. The SEI helps organizations  make measured improvements in software engineering capabilities by providing  technical leadership to advance the practice of software engineering.
  “I’m really excited about this unique opportunity to be part of  the Carnegie Mellon family and leading the SEI,” Nielsen said. “Science  and technology has been extremely important to me throughout my career and we  find out more and more that software is at the heart of many military and commercial  systems. The SEI has a wonderful reputation of being at the forefront of the  software engineering community.”

Nielsen succeeds Stephen E. Cross, who left in 2003 to become a vice president  at Georgia Institute of Technology and the director of the Georgia Tech Research  Institute. Angel Jordan, a university professor emeritus of electrical and computer  engineering at Carnegie Mellon and founder of the SEI, has been serving as the  institute’s interim director.

“I could not be passing the SEI leadership to a better person,”  Jordan said. “Paul is a leader of vision and a superb technologist. He  will propel the SEI to higher levels of excellence.”

Nielsen is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has a master of science  degree in applied science from the University of California, Davis and an MBA  from the University of New Mexico. Nielsen earned a Ph.D. in plasma physics  from the University of California, Davis.

Nielsen has received numerous awards including the Distinguished Service Medal,  the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. In 2004, Nielsen  was named an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Fellow.

Nielsen currently resides in Dayton, Ohio, with his wife, Dotty. The Nielsens  have three children: Eric, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology  and a computer engineer in the Boston area; Kristin, a third-year medical student  at the University of Pennsylvania; and Steven, a sophomore in Carnegie Mellon’s  Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

About Carnegie Mellon
  Carnegie Mellon is an internationally recognized institution with a distinctive  mix of world-class educational and research programs in computer science, robotics,  engineering, the sciences, business, public policy, fine arts and the humanities.  Carnegie Mellon leverages its strengths to benefit society in the areas of biotechnology,  information and computer security technology, environmental science and practices,  the fine arts and humanities. The university has one of the most technologically  sophisticated campuses in the world. For more information, visit Carnegie Mellon  at

About the SEI
  The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a U.S. Department of Defense federally  funded research and development center operated by Carnegie Mellon University.  The SEI helps organizations make measured improvements in their software engineering  capabilities by providing technical leadership to advance the practice of software  engineering. For more information, visit the SEI Web site at

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Media Contacts: 

Richard Lynch