Carnegie Mellon University and NASA
have formed a High Dependability Computing Consortium (HDCC) whose mission is
to eliminate failures in computing systems critical to the welfare of society.

Twelve information technology companies have agreed to work with Carnegie
Mellon and NASA to develop the consortium and its agenda.
They include Adobe
Systems, Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Corp., IBM Corp.,
ILOG, Inc., Marimba, Inc., Microsoft Corp., Novell, Inc., SGI, Inc., Siebel
Systems, Inc., Sybase, Inc., and Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Dependable systems technology is necessary to insure that the software
created for space missions, defense, health care, electronic commerce, or any
systems affecting human safety or well-being functions properly.
highly publicized crashes of online services like AOL and Yahoo! highlight the
need for highly dependable systems.

Earlier this year, NASA funded a Carnegie Mellon proposal to develop the
consortium with a grant of $500,000.
Since then, the university has been
enrolling partners, and, together with NASA, will formalize a research agenda.
Application areas that could demonstrate dependable technology include:
traffic control, Internet communication, power generation and transmission,
space exploration, health care and highway safety.
Additional areas will be
identified by the industrial collaboration.

“Carnegie Mellon has played a lead role in forming this consortium,” said
university President Jared L. Cohon.
“Once established, we will help lead it
and contribute to its technical agenda.
The university has a long history of
building practical computing systems and is recognized for its expertise in
software engineering.
We have an innovative faculty that excels in cross-
disciplinary research.
All of these capabilities will contribute to the
success of the HDCC.”

“Carnegie Mellon’s expertise in robotics has played a major role in the
success of numerous NASA research projects,” said NASA Ames Research Center
Director Henry McDonald.
“We look forward to working with the university and
our industry partners to advance NASA’s computing capabilities for future
research projects.”

The High Dependability Computing Consortium represents the first concrete
step in Carnegie Mellon’s plan to develop a presence in the Silicon Valley.
Last January the university signed a memorandum of understanding with NASA
establishing a partnership to explore the creation of a branch campus at
Moffett Field.

Since then, the university has signed a letter of intent with the agency
that outlines the program’s Carnegie Mellon plans for the site.
university plans to build 500,000 square feet of space on 15 acres of a 40-
acre tract at the 2,000-acre Moffett Field site that is being set aside as a
university reserve.
NASA is developing this site as a research park.

“We want to showcase our research and educational offerings in Silicon
Valley, the information technology capital of the world,” said James H.
Morris, dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon.
He said
the goal of current planning is to create a suitable platform, including
classrooms, laboratory space and housing that would allow any department of
the university to run a program there at reasonable cost.
Initially, the
facility would be used for research with NASA, executive education programs,
electronic commerce courses, computer science, robotics and software

Nationally known research and educational programs from Carnegie Mellon’s
engineering college and Software Engineering Institute may also play key
roles at the Silicon Valley campus.

Morris and others at Carnegie Mellon believe a presence in Silicon Valley
can enhance the educational experience of students at the Pittsburgh campus by
giving them opportunities to do internships or research with NASA or Silicon
Valley companies.

Carnegie Mellon is participating with NASA as the agency puts together an
environmental impact statement for development of the Moffett Field site.
university has hired San Francisco-based BMS Design Group, EHDD architects and
consultant Barnes and Co., to assist the university in planning.
Funding for
these services has come from Silicon Valley-based friends of the university.

“We want to undertake basic, empirical and engineering research aimed at
making the creation and maintenance of computer systems a true professional
discipline comparable to civil engineering and medicine,” said Morris.
shapers of the future, universities should address the software quality
problem now, before the world at large sees a crisis.

“Carnegie Mellon has more than 2,500 alumni in Silicon Valley,” said
“They want to see us take a more active role in this environment.”

Carnegie Mellon has had a long-standing relationship with NASA’s Ames
Research Center.
They have developed high profile robots such as Dante, which
explored the interior of a volcano, and Nomad, which did a 125-kilometer trek
across Chile’s Atacama Desert and found meteorites in Antarctica.
addition, researchers from departments as diverse as philosophy, computer
science and mechanical engineering have worked with Ames researchers.
Projects have included formal methods for verifying digital circuitry, vision
and navigation, machine learning and data mining.