Carnegie Mellon University
May 23, 2022

MSE Team Takes Home Top Prize at Architecture Competition

By Jen Potter

or the third time in the last four years, a team of graduate students from the Institute for Software Research’s Master of Software Engineering (MSE) Professional Programs has placed in the top three at the Community of Information Technology Architecture Practitioners (CITAP) Student IT Architecture Competition (SITAC). 

The competition, now in its seventh year, pitted 20 teams of graduate and undergraduate students against one another to develop an architectural solution for a technical product that would motivate individuals to adopt sustainable practices with the goal of mitigating environmental change. Assigned a veteran industry mentor, each team was responsible for numerous deliverables — ranging from scoping to architectural diagrams to execution plans — that presented a solution leveraging emerging technologies and minimizing operation costs.

For the third year, due to travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines imposed in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the entire competition — mentoring sessions, presentations by industry experts, deliverables by the teams, the final presentation, and the awards ceremony — was held virtually.

Sponsored by numerous tech companies, the competition attracted many participants. By the end of the six month process, the field of contenders had narrowed to 13 teams. In the end, it was Carnegie Mellon team members Neo Chen (MSE-SS), Peng Dou (MSE-ES), and Daniel Zellmer (MSE-SS), with the guidance of industry mentor Raj More, a Solutions Architect at Costco, who claimed first place for their impressive submission. 

"I am super proud of the team," said Raj More. "Neo, Peng, and Dan were hard working, self motivated, enthusiastic, professional to the point that other teams emulated their presentation style, supportive of each other, displayed humor, and communicated well." Mr. More was particularly impressed by how fast they were able to learn the material presented by industry leaders and apply that subject knowledge to the next deliverable. "From the beginning of the competition in December, up until the very end, the team's enthusiasm never flagged. I am pleased as punch!"

To learn more about the SITAC, please visit the event website.