Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley

Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley
Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley

Front entrance of Building 23
Motto "My heart is in the work" (Andrew Carnegie)
Established 2002
Type Private, Branch Campus
President Jared Cohon
Provost Mark Kamlet
Director Martin Griss
Location Mountain View, California,  United States
37°24′38″N 122°03′35″W / 37.41045°N 122.05975°W / 37.41045; -122.05975Coordinates: 37°24′38″N 122°03′35″W / 37.41045°N 122.05975°W / 37.41045; -122.05975
Colors Cardinal, Gray, and Tartan Plaid[1]
Nickname Tartans, CMU West
Mascot Scotty the Scottie Dog[2]
Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley Title Logo

Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley is a branch campus of Carnegie Mellon University located in the heart of Silicon Valley in Mountain View, California. It was established in 2002 at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field.[3] The campus offers full-time and part-time professional Masters programs in Software Engineering and Software Management [4], various bi-coastal (split-time between Pittsburgh and Silicon Valley) Masters programs in Information Technology, and a bi-coastal Ph.D. program in Electrical and Computer Engineering. One key differentiator between programs in the traditional Pittsburgh campus and the new Silicon Valley campus is a new focus on project-centered learning by doing approach to education.[5]



After years of planning from the Pittsburgh campus, Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley opened in September 2002 under the name "Carnegie Mellon University - West Campus" to an original class of 56 students.[3][6] James H. Morris, the Dean of the School of Computer Science at the Pittsburgh campus, was instrumental in establishing the West Coast initiative and served as the new campus' first Dean.[3] Raj Reddy, a Turing Award recipient and computer science professor at the Pittsburgh campus, was the school's first director.[3] In 2008, the university's name was changed to Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley to better reflect the proximity and opportunity to Silicon Valley. In 2009, Dean Morris ended his appointment, and the College of Engineering (also known as Carnegie Institute of Technology or "CIT") at Carnegie Mellon University partnered with the Silicon Valley campus to bring more resources and a stronger connection to the main campus. Dr. Martin Griss was appointed the new director of the Silicon Valley campus, he is also an Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, and the Co-Director of the CyLab Mobility Research Center.


Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley is located on NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field. The campus (or in particular Moffett Field), is surrounded by high-tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, HP, and Lockheed Martin. Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley currently occupies Building 23 and since January 2011, a wing in Building 19, which provides space for full-time masters students, faculty and researchers.


In Fall 2002, Carnegie Mellon initiated a full-time and part-time Masters of Science in Software Engineering. The Software Engineering Masters are divided into a Technical Track, aimed at advancing software developers to senior positions and architect roles, and the Development Management Track, aimed at providing software developers with technical project management and development management skills.

In Fall 2008, Carnegie Mellon initiated the Software Management Masters program. The program targets senior software developers and managers that wish to pursue senior management and executive careers. The part-time MS SM program offers 4 concentrations to select from, in Product Development, Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Innovation, and Service Management.[6]

For several years, Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley operated a long-distance capability to Pittsburgh's Tepper School of Business.[7]

The campus now offers full-time versions of the MS Software Engineering and MS Software Management degrees. Both programs are 12-month programs, that are completed entirely at the Silicon Valley campus. The MS SE program offers the Technical and Development Management tracks. The full-time MS SM program has a special focus on software innovation and entrepreneurship.

In Fall 2008, a Ph.D. program in Electrical and Computer Engineering was initiated, offering students opportunities for advanced studies and research in the fields of mobility, security, and networking.[8]

In Fall 2009, Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley initiated bi-coastal Masters degree programs in Information Technology with specializations in Mobility, Information Security, and Software Management through the Information Networking Institute. In the bi-coastal programs, students divide their time between the campuses in Pittsburgh and Silicon Valley.

Learn by Doing

The programs differ from traditional software programs through their project and simulation-based curriculum.[3][6] Instead of attending classes and taking exams, students are expected to work in close teams along with team advisors and faculty in an environment that closely resembles the industry.[9] For instance, professors often act as the VP of Engineering/Marketing of a fictitious company, while students gather and negotiate requirements, plan software development cycles and deliver products throughout the course.

At the end of the two year (six semesters) part-time program, students are then encouraged to apply their skills and knowledge to a practicum that involves a real project negotiated with high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. This practicum used to be a requirement, but is now an elective.

Student population

Approximately 160 students are enrolled in Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley's program. With its strong technical support for long-distance learning, about 25% of the part-time student population reside outside of the Bay Area. However, with its unique location in Silicon Valley, many local students stem from prominent companies such as Yahoo, Google, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Oracle, Boeing and Microsoft, providing a vibrant environment with many diverse corporate experiences.

Over 500 alumni have graduated from the Silicon Valley campus since 2002.


The campus has a growing research effort, which began in 2008 as a natural growth of the CyLab Mobility Research Center. The research primarily focused on software mobility, networking and security. More recently, the research efforts have grown to include Disaster Management, Language Technologies, UAVs, Antannae Optimization, Health Technology systems.

Silicon Valley Events

Besides the educational programs, Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley has also organized software-related events in Silicon Valley, such as Carnegie Mellon's Tour de Silicon Valley, where selected Carnegie Mellon students from the Pittsburgh campus are flown to Silicon Valley for a week of networking at various software companies.[10]

Currently, the school offers TOCS - "Talks on Computing Systems", a weekly talk given by a subject expert in various topics related to software and computing. These talks are open to the public in addition to the faculty and students.

The school has also organized in association with the UC Berkeley, regular software conferences in the outlook of the software industry. Its first incarnation took place on April 30, 2007 at the Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus and focused on The New Software Industry - Forces at Play, Business in Motion,[11] while the second conference will take place on April 22, 2008 at Santa Clara Convention Center and focus on The Mobile Future - Technology Revolutionizing our Lives.[12]

More recently, the campus hosted a Disaster Management Workshop, focusing on its growing research division in Disaster Response. The 3 day event included a CrisisCamp for practitioners to come and collaborate on improving disaster relief methodologies.

The Fence

In August 2008, the graduating class of 2008 presented a gift to the university by installing their own Carnegie Mellon University fence on the silicon valley campus.[13] The fence is a Carnegie Mellon tradition on the main campus where different student organizations repaint a long fence in the middle of the campus to promote a cause or spread a certain message. Members of the class of 2008 collected money to hire a contractor to build and install a 10-foot fence, that was then subsequently painted with images symbolizing the west coast (like the Golden Gate Bridge, or NASA's Hangar One). The fence was dedicated to Randy Pausch who died in 2008 (the top of the fence reads "Dedicated to Randy Pausch"). The remaining money was also donated and gift-matched to a total of $1000 to the Randy Pausch Memorial Fund.[13]

External links

See also


  1. ^ "Official Carnegie Mellon colors". Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  2. ^ "Carnegie Mellon's Mascot". 
  3. ^ a b c d e "University to Offer Master's Degree Program at West Coast Campus This Fall". 2008-05-10. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  4. ^ "Part-time Programs". Retrieved 2008-07-28. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Unique Program Features". Retrieved 2008-07-28. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b c "Press Release: Carnegie Mellon West Launches Master’s Program for Software Management". 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  7. ^ Jonathan Erickson (2007-02-12). "CMU West Offers MS In Software Management". Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  8. ^ "CMU Launches Mobility Research Center". 2004-09-18. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  9. ^ "Unique Program Features". Retrieved 2008-07-28. [dead link]
  10. ^ Amit Agarwal (2006-02-13). "MU West offers tour de Silicon Valley". Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  11. ^ "Carnegie Mellon, UC Berkeley Conference to Forecast Future of New Software Industry". 2007-05-27. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  12. ^ "The Mobile Future Conference 2008". 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2008-08-18. [dead link]
  13. ^ a b "Silicon Valley Fence". 2008-08-11. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 

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