Defense Taps Carnegie As Computer Center Site

The Department of Defense (DOD) has selected Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU) to be the sight of a new center for computer software development.

The Pittsburgh school will get $103 million to build and maintain the Software Engineering Institute, which will experiment with and evaluate software for use in defense projects, said Major Prank Word of the DOD's Computer Software and Systems Office.

Harvard had passively supported a bid by Northeastern University for the Institute, but the DOD turned down Northeastern's proposal. However, the institute's location will have little effect on Harvard, said Paul Martin, dean of the Divison of Applied Sciences.

"We are neither surprised nor devastated, [Ithough] we would have been pleased to have the lab in the area, "he said, adding that "Harvard was not expecting to be heavily involved" with the institute.

"It was probably a good choice," said McKay Professor of Computer Science Thomas E. Cheatham, one of several Harvard professors to express interest in doing consulting work at the Institute if it were located at Northeastern.


Scientists at Brown, MIT, and the Wang Institute for Advanced Graduate study also informed Northeastern of their interest in the projects, said the Boston school's provost Karl Weiss, who coordinated the Northeastern proposal.

Weiss said he was not surprised by the decision, claming it was "completely reasonable" because "CMU is probably the country's leading institution in the area of computer research."

Northeastern's attempt to land the Institute has not gone all for naught, however, said Weiss. The university has developed a good relationship with the Department of Defense which will create "very positive spinoff's" when the school makes bids for future contracts in the area of software engineering.

Carnegie-mallon will begin congtruction of a building for the Insitute as soon as the university negotiates a contract with the defense department, said CMU Director of Public Don Hale.