HomeNews & MediaPress ReleasesPress Release 
November 21, 2002
For Immediate Release

Media Contacts
Michael Buckley
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab
Laurel, MD 20723
Phone: 240-228-7536 or 443-778-7536

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab and Software Engineering Institute Forge Strategic Partnership

Research Centers Look to Enhance National Security Through Technical Collaboration

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md., and the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, have forged a strategic partnership that combines APL's proven systems engineering experience with SEI's advanced software expertise.

The pairing positions APL and SEI to offer better systems and services to the military and other government agencies that protect national security and the nation's critical infrastructure.

"APL and SEI have complementary skills, and our potential to learn from each other, to leverage each other's capabilities and to support each other's work is enormous," says APL Director Richard T. Roca. "We could always try to do everything by ourselves, but working with partners — standing on the shoulders of people who have gone before us to achieve various goals — has got to be faster, more cost effective and, frankly, a lot more fun."

The partnership's key goal is to improve the quality, utility and interoperability of complex, software-intensive systems. APL and SEI plan to do this by implementing practical and flexible software engineering practices; developing graduate courses and training programs addressing the interdependence between software engineering and systems engineering; and sharing technical expertise.

SEI Director and Chief Executive Officer Stephen E. Cross says the joint collaboration will result in a mutual broadening of each party's perspective into the other's areas of expertise. "This is an exciting partnership for the SEI. Our collaboration with APL demonstrates our commitment to improved practices for the engineering of software intensive systems," he says.

APL and SEI have already identified several potential areas for collaboration, such as creating more efficient software-intensive systems, streamlining the processes for putting such systems into production, and developing better approaches to the broad practice of "systems of systems" engineering.

Through its work with SEI, for example, APL expects to enhance its ability to engineer prototype "families" of systems, which blend disparate components into a smoothly operating, collective system that provides the command and control, communications, weapon status and other information commanders need to manage the modern battlespace.

The partnership amplifies the SEI mission to provide technical leadership to advance the state of the practice of software engineering and will accelerate the transition of software engineering technology.

Partnership program managers at APL say as prototypes rely more and more on increasingly complex software, the engineers crafting these systems need clearer ideas of how software development fits into their overall projects. At the same time, they add, software developers need better understanding of how their work fits into an entire system beyond a single component.


The Applied Physics Laboratory, a division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.

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 www.sei.cmu.edu.

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