MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000


The past year, like most years, was a busy one for EECS faculty, staff, and students. A number of exciting new faculty members, including three women, joined the department and we launched a number of new educational and research initiatives.

The separtment’s undergraduate and master of engineering programs continue to thrive, with total enrollment again at an all time high. This has placed a considerable burden on parts of our faculty. We have responded by slightly increased hiring and by instituting new policies that will lead to a slight reduction in the size of our master of engineering program.

Despite the high overall enrollment, our undergraduate electrical engineering program continues to be considerably smaller than it has historically been. The drop in interest in pure electrical engineering is a nation wide trend. Interestingly, however, our largest undergraduate program is not our computer science program (as at many other universities) but instead our program that combines electrical engineering and computer science. This can be viewed as an affirmation of the value of a broad-based education that encompasses both electrical engineering and computer science.

The doctoral program too is healthy. Its size has remained almost constant, though we plan to grow slightly over the next few years. We continue to be extremely selective in our admissions process, especially in Areas I and II. In September we made a number of significant changes to our doctoral programs. These included a more flexible qualification process and a teaching requirement.

Under the leadership of Associate Department Head Rafael Reif, we have greatly increased our interactions with industry. Most notably, we launched our Industrial Connections Program (ICP). This program provides a formal mechanism for interaction between member companies and EECS students. The goal is to facilitate efficient communication between the EECS student community and the business world. Membership in the ICP is open to companies with a strong commitment to electrical engineering and computing.

Under the leadership of Associate Department Head Tomás Lozano-Pérez, we have launched a number of educational experiments. Some of these experiments have been aimed primarily at improving the quality of the educational experience. Others have been aimed primarily at improving the efficiency with which we deliver education. The preliminary results are very encouraging, and will result in some major changes over the next few years.

Finally, the Ray and Maria Stata Center is a step closer to reality. Ground has been broken, and the current schedule calls for us to occupy it in 2003.


Enrollment of undergraduates averaged 1025 in 1999—2000, close to that of 1998—1999, with 16 percent in the Electrical Engineering Program, 41% in the Computer Science Program, and 35% in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Program. From the Class of 2002, 360 students were enrolled in Course VI, the same as the preceding year. About 380 students from the Class of 2003 have so far selected Course VI, with 13% choosing 6-1, 57% 6-2, and 30% choosing 6-3.

The Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) program entered its fourth year with 250 students.

The following prizes and awards were won by our students:

The Ernest A. Guillemin Thesis Competition for outstanding performances on a Master of Engineering theses in Electrical Engineering were won by Brian B. Graham of Seattle, WA, Serena Chan of Brooklyn, NY, and Tommy Ng of Cambridge, MA.

The David Adler Memorial Thesis Prize for outstanding performance on an Undergraduate Thesis in Electrical Engineering was presented to Peggy B. Chen of Cambridge, MA.

The Charles and Jennifer Johnson Theses Prizes for outstanding performance on Master of Engineering thesis in computer science were awarded to Jeremy J. Lilley of Cambridge, MA and Ian R. Schechter of Cambridge, MA.

The Morris Joseph Levin Awards for Best MasterWorks Oral Theses Presentations were awarded to William Adjie-Winoto of Boston, MA, Eladio C. Arvelo of San Diego, CA, Matthew S. DeBergalis of Cambridge, MA, Dario Gil of Cambridge, MA, Shawn Hwang of Cambridge, MA, Christopher Lin of Cambridge, MA and Yu-Ming Lin also of Cambridge, MA.

The William A. Martin Memorial Thesis Prize for outstanding performance on a Master of Engineering thesis in computer science was presented to Peter M. Ju of Winchester, MA.

The George C. Newton Prizes for the best undergraduate laboratory projects were awarded to Jason Timpe of Cambridge, MA, Nicholas C. Homer of Boston, MA, and Philip W. Juang of Cincinnati, OH.

The Robert A. Fano UROP Awards were given to Raffi C. Krikorian of New City, NY and Bradley Kaanta of Colchester, VT.

The Northern Telecom/BNR Project Awards were made to Charles B. Lee, Sandia Ren, Xiaolan, Nisha Checka and Yanlok Charlotte Lau all of Cambridge, MA.

The David A. Chanen Writing Award was given to Kenneth Lu of Cambridge, MA.

The Anna Pogosyants UROP Award was presented to Michael Tsai of Cambridge, MA.

The Department Special Awards were presented to CheeWee NG of Cambridge, MA, and Jacob Strauss of Needham, MA.

The Norman R. Carson Outstanding Junior Award was given to Ishwar Sivakumar of Cambridge, MA

The Outstanding Tutor Award was presented to Shuley Nakamura of Pebble Beach, CA.


In September 1999, there were 802 graduate students enrolled in the department. About 25 percent of the total were foreign nationals. The department supported 440 Research Assistants and 110 Teaching Assistants. In addition, there were 191 fellowships including 50 National Science Foundation Fellows, and 14 Department of Defense Fellows. The remaining students had industrial or foreign support or were using their own funds.

During 1999, the department awarded 69 Master of Science degrees, 2 Electrical Engineer degrees and 75 Doctoral degrees.

The department received 2043 applications for the 1999—00 year, a slight increase from 1998. The applications continue to be generally excellent and 287 were admitted for 1999 (February, June and September), of whom 129 registered in September.

A number of awards were made to graduate students for excellence in teaching. Maya R. Said of Cambridge, MA, received the Carlton E. Tucker Award and Mohammed Saeed of No. Andover, MA, received the Harold L. Hazen Award. The Frederick C. Hennie III Awards for excellence in teaching were presented to Albert M. Chan and Amy N. Englehart both of Cambridge, MA. The George M. Sprowls Awards for outstanding research contributions in the field of electronic computer and investigation research were presented to Dawson Engler recently appointed to the faculty of Stanford University, Stanford, CA, Matteo Frigo of Padova, Italy, Daniele Micciancio of San Diego, CA, and Andrew Myers recently appointed to me faculty at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.


The department’s VI-A Internship Program is in its 83rd year and continues to feel the competition from the on-campus M.Eng. program and the appeal of start-up companies. This year 73 students applied during the annual Orientation and Selection process and 41 were selected as members of the incoming VI-A class. To compare, in 1999 109 students applied and 67 were selected while 1998 120 students applied and about 58 were selected. Since the last Report, approximately 22 students have withdrawn from the VI-A program as they felt their needs were better matched with the opportunities available on-campus. In spite of this trend, the VI-A program continues to provide excellent educational opportunities as the companies have ensured their commitment of challenging assignments. Even though enrollment has decreased, our philosophy is to have a small but excellent program rather than a larger but mediocre program.

Four companies–American International Group, AT&T Labs., Hewlett-Packard and Rational Software Corporation–did not take new students this year, but will continue with those students selected in previous years. Although other companies have expressed interest in participating in the program, the number may have to be limited due to the small student enrollment.

In June, 34 VI-A students received the M.Eng. degree having completed all their company assignments and Institute degree requirements. There were 35 VI-A students who were awarded their bachelor’s degree and most of them will continue into the graduate phase of the program.

Many honors and awards continue to be bestowed on VI-A students. Manu Sridharan (IBM Corp.) was one of the 26 sophomores and juniors who was selected as a Burchard Scholar in the School of Humanities and Social Science for 2000. These awards are given to students who demonstrate unusual abilities and academic excellence in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.

At the Institute Awards Convocation Sean J. Sutherland (COMSAT Labs.) was one of the recipients of the Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Award for achievement in the creative arts and in the performing arts.

At the annual Department Awards Reception held at the Museum Fine Arts in Boston, the following VI-A students were honored: Maya R. Said (Xerox/PARC) received the Carlton E. Tucker Teaching Award; Yanlok Charlotte Lau (Analog Devices) received a Northern Telecom/BNR Project Award; Eladio C. Arvelo (QUALCOMM) and Shawn M. Hwang (Agilent Technologies) each received a Morris Joseph Levin Award for a Best MasterWorks Oral Thesis Presentation; Jason T. Timpe (Lockheed Martin IR Imaging Systems), Nicholas C. Homer (Charles Stark Draper Laboratory) and Philip W. Juang (Charles Stark Draper Laboratory) received the George C. Newton Undergraduate Laboratory Prizes; Peter M. Ju (AT&T Labs) received the Wililam A. Martin Memorial Thesis Prize; and Serena Chan (MIT Lincoln Laboratory) was one of the Second Prize winners of the Ernst A. Guillemin Thesis Award.

The School of Engineering awarded Warit Wichakool (QUALCOMM) a Reinhold Rudenerg Memorial Fund Award which is given to students with outstanding undergraduate theses relating to energy conversion.

Sripriya Natarajan (Agilent Technologies) won second prize in the contest for the WHS Prize for Engineering Writing.

VI-A students continue to excel in their studies as Hau Hwang (AT&T Labs.) and Aaron Ucko (AT&T Labs.) were elected members of Phi Beta Kappa; Eta Kappa Nu, the Electrical Engineering National Honor Society, initiated 111 new members of whom 25 were VI-As; and of the 114 students from the School of Engineering elected to Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honorary, 14 were VI-A’s.


Six new faculty members joined the department this year:

Faculty Awards and Honors

Assistant Professor Hari Balakrishnan received the 2000 NSF Career Award. He also received the IBM Faculty Partnership Award.

Assistant Professor John Chapin received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Professor Mildred Dresselhaus received the Nicholson Medal from the American Physical Society and the Women in Science Millennial Achievement Award. She was also awarded a Doctor honoris causa degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium. Professor Mildred Dresselhaus was nominated by President Clinton as Director of the Office of Science. She also received the 2000 Celsius Lecturer in Sweden.

Professor Robert Gallager was elected Fellow of the Industrial Engineering Consortium. He also received an IEEE Third Millenium Medal.

Professor Martha Gray was named the Edward Hood Taplin Chair in Medical Engineering.

Professor Eric Grimson was elected Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence.

Professor Alan Grodzinsky received the Class of 1960 Innovation in Education Award.

Professor Erich Ippen was awarded the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award from the University of California at Berkeley.

Associate Professor Daniel N. Jackson was named the Douglas T. Ross Career Development Associate Professor of Software Engineering.

Professor Frans Kaashoek was awarded the IEEE Course VI Outstanding Advisor Award.

Professor Leslie Kaelbling was elected Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence.

Professor John Kassakian received an IEEE Third Millenium Medal.

Professor James Kirtley received an IEEE Third Millenium Medal.

Professor Jin Kong received the 2000 S.T. Li Prize. He also received the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society Distinguished Achievement Award.

Associate Professor Steven Leeb was nominated as a Discover Magazine Award Finalist.

Professor and Dean of the School of Engineering Thomas Magnanti was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Assistant Professor Leonard McMillan received the Ruth and Joel Spira Teaching Award.

Professor Albert Meyer was elected Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Professor Marvin Minsky received the R.W. Wood Prize of the American Optical Society.

Professor Sanjoy Mitter received the 2000 IEEE Control Systems Award.

Professor Alan Oppenheim received an IEEE Third Millenium Medal.

Professor Paul Penfield was named the Dugald C. Jackson Professor of Electrical Engineering. He was also presented with the Outstanding Service Award by NEEDHA (National Electrical Engineering Department Heads Association) and the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Golden Jubilee Award.

Professor Rafael Reif received the Aristotle Award 2000 from the Semiconductor Research Corporation.

Professor Ronald Rivest was named the Andrew (1956) and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Professor Jeffrey Shapiro was elected Fellow of the Institute of Physics and was named the Julius A. Stratton Professor of Electrical Engineering

Professor Kenneth Stevens received the National Medal of Science.

Professor Gerald Sussman was elected a Member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Professor Thomas Weiss received the Class of 1951 Fund for Excellence in Education Award, the Class of 1955 Fund for Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Class of 1972 Fund for Educational Innovation Award. He was also elected the John F. and Virginia B. Taplin Faculty Fellow in Health Sciences and Technology.

Professor Alan Willsky was named the Edwin Sibley Webster Professor of Electrical Engineering.

Professor Markus Zahn received the 2000 Ecole Superieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI) Medal for Paris Sciences.

The following faculty were on sabbatical for all or part of the year: Professor Dimitri P. Bertsekas, Professor Srinivas Devadas, Professor Robert C. Berwick, Professor Rodney A. Brooks, Professor Carl E. Hewitt, Professor James L. Kirtley, Professor Amos Lapidoth, Professor Charles E. Leiserson, Professor Barbara H. Liskov, Professor Paul L. Penfield, Jr., Professor Martin F. Schlecht, Professor Stephen D. Senturia, Professor Jeffrey H. Shapiro, Professor Charles G. Sodini, Professor Gerald J. Sussman, Professor Stephen A. Ward, Professor Cardinal Warde, Professor Gregory W. Wornell, and Professor Markus Zahn.

The department hosted seven visiting faculty:

Professor Sherra Kerns, from Vanderbilt University, hosted by Paul L. Penfield, Jr.

Assistant Professor Lisa G. McIlrath, from Northeastern University, hosted by Professor William E.L. Grimson.

Professor Johan E. Mooij, from Delft University, hosted by Professor Terry P. Orlando.

Professor Jose Moura, from Carnegie Mellon University, hosted by Professor Sanjoy K. Mitter.

Professor Manuela Veloso, from Carnegie Mellon University, hosted by Professor Rodney Brooks.

Professor Carl E. Hewitt retired from the faculty this year.

It is with deep sadness that we note the passing of Professor Jonthan Allen, Director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics.

More information about this department can be found on the World Wide Web at

John V. Guttag

MIT Reports to the President 1999–2000