MIT Reports to the President 1995-96


The new Masters of Engineering Program (M.Eng.) and a revision of the Department's Strategic Plan dominated our activities last year. The former will be discussed under the Graduate Education section of this report.

After successfully completing most of the Action Items of the 1993 Strategic Plan, the Department felt compelled to revisit our long term agenda and define new initiatives for the next three years. For the first time a departmental theme was adopted: Sustainability of Large Integrated Systems. Large integrated systems are "open"; understanding their interactions with the social, political, and economic areas is critical to designing and optimizing them, and is central to developing viable policies for fostering long-term economic development, consistent with environmental concerns.

Given our theme, our foci are:

The Department's Strategic Plan is still founded on the three pillars on which we are built: infrastructure, environment, and information/logistics/management systems.

The revised Strategic Plan has several long term Goals; they are supported by short term Action Items. For the next few years the Action Items are: (1) carry out a full revision of the undergraduate curriculum; (2) further develop the M.Eng. program; (3) develop a strategy to increase fellowship support for graduate students; (4) study the feasibility and embark, if possible, on creating a series of textbooks using the latest in multimedia and information technology; (5) continue aggressive efforts to attract outstanding minority and women faculty hires to build on our past successes; (6) develop mechanisms which will permanently finance continuing improvements in computer facilities, technical support and laboratories; (7) develop a feasibility study for a new environmentally friendly and unified building for CEE; (8) complete our faculty salary hardening initiative; (9) review our organization seeking further reduction in bureaucracy and improvements in communications and cooperation; (10) develop a plan for international initiatives in education and research; (11) create mechanisms to develop a closer relationship to industry.

The year opened with successful and productive reviews by our Visiting Committee and by ABET throughout the year. The National Research Council ranked our doctoral programs first in quality of faculty and effectiveness in educating students nationwide.

Improvement of our physical environment continues. Major projects completed this year are the new M.Eng. dedicated classroom and computer facility and new concrete and non destructive evaluation laboratories. We are in the midst of constructing a new, fully equipped, Design Studio for graduate and undergraduate teaching.

The year ended with six of our colleagues taking advantage of the early retirement program, two staff members and four faculty members. Although some will keep up their involvement with the Department, this represents a significant loss of experience and know-how. They will be missed. On the other hand we continue to aggressively hire. We now have 13 outstanding, untenured, faculty members and were able to hire another individual to start July 1, 1997. We will continue to hire the new generation of leaders who will take this Department into the new century.


Both undergraduate programs, Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering Science, are ranked in the top five by U.S. News and World Report. Both programs are ABET accredited and were again reviewed last September.

The Environmental Engineering Science program has been slightly adjusted to serve as a pre-med option for MIT students. The impact of these changes are already evident in the incoming class.

As expected, our undergraduates are increasingly attracted to the new M.Eng. program, with the latter serving the role of a fifth year of specialization and professional education.

We are concerned about the apparent stagnation of enrollments, particularly in the Civil Engineering option (see Table). To address the issue we are embarking on a review of curricula and in developing processes to influence applicants to MIT, the admission process, and the freshmen selection of majors.

We continue to serve the Institute's undergraduate population with our Introduction to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving, by our participation in teaching the Institute's biology requirement and by leadership in environmental literacy courses throughout the Institute. We are pursuing other possible service roles that would be compatible with our educational objectives.


Our first class of 21 M.Eng. students successfully completed the program and graduated in June. Exit interviews and questionnaires confirmed the overall satisfaction with the program. All students felt that their newly acquired degrees made them far more marketable, in better paying and more interesting jobs. They also made suggestions for improvements many of which will be implemented.

Next year we have an entering class of 30, five above our target for the year. Of these, 11 are our own undergraduates, a positive move in effectively making this degree a de facto first professional degree and a seemless addition to traditional MIT undergraduate education.

By all measures the M.Eng. program has been very successful. We have started the development of a new track in the area of high performance structures.

All our graduate programs are healthy. The attached figures show the history of enrollments and degrees awarded. Our applicant pool continues to grow and the quality of students is still excellent. We received over 2,414 inquiries and 428 applications.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Enrollment 1990-1996

Undergraduate Students
Graduate Students
Yearly Total

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Graduate Degrees 1990-1996

Master of Science
Civil Engineer
Yearly Total







Professors Yossi Sheffi, Moshe Ben-Akiva, Frank Perkins and Herbert Einstein enjoyed sabbatical leaves this year.

Professors Frank Perkins, Robert Logcher, Charles Ladd and Lynn Gelhar have taken advantage of the early retirement plan. Profs. Gelhar and Ladd will nevertheless maintain their research and educational activities.

Senior Administrative Officer Trond Kaalstad has also taken the retirement opportunity. So did Senior Machinist Arthur Rudolph.

Dr. Eric E. Adams served on an advisory committee to the New England Board of Higher Education exploring ways to improve undergraduate environmental education.

Professor Cynthia Barnhart was appointed Associate Editor of Operations Research for the practice section. She also co-edited two special issues of Transportation Science. Prof. Barnhart was also elected president of INFORM's (professional society) Forum on Women in Operations Research and Management Science.

Professor Moshe Ben-Akiva and his research team, The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Program, won two major research projects: Development of a Deployable Real-Time Dynamic Traffic Assignment System, sponsored by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Traffic Surveillance and Detection Technology Development, sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Prof. Ben-Akiva was elected to a second three-year term as a member of the WCTR Society steering committee and chair of its scientific committee. He won the Effective Teaching Award for the Department.

The first Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundations Professor is Professor Rafael L. Bras. He has been appointed to the Board of the Stockholm Water Foundation (USA). Professor Bras opened the First International Meeting on Water Problems in Valencia in November 1995. Together with Prof. Daniele Veneziano and others he also began a new collaboration with the Italian National Research Council. He chairs an international panel overseeing the preparation of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the of the flood protection efforts in Venice, Italy.

Professor Oral Buyukozturk delivered the main lecture, "Simulation of Microwave Propagation in Concrete" in the International Symposium on Nondestructive Testing in Civil Engineering held in Berlin, Germany, September 1995.

Professor Ismail Chabini joined the faculty. He won the best thesis award of the Association des Transports et des Routes, Quebec, Canada. During the spring term he developed a subject on Computer Algorithms and Transportation.

Professor Sallie W. Chisholm was elected an AGU Fellow. The award recognizes scientists who have attained acknowledged eminence in a branch of geophysics.

Professor Jerome Connor published a new book, Introduction to Motion Based Design, co-authored with Dr. Boutros S.A. Klink ('95).

Professor Culligan-Hensley's developed a new graduate course in geo-environmental engineering entitled Waste Containment and Site Remediation Technology. She was awarded the 1996 Mosey Visiting Fellowship from the University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.

Professor Richard de Neufville continues as chairman of the Technology Planning and Policy Program and was heavily involved in launching the new interdepartmental doctoral program in Technology Management and Policy.

The 1995 Hunter Rouse ('29 and '32) Hydraulic Engineering Lecture of the ASCE was delivered by Professor Emeritus Peter Eagleson.

Professor Herbert H. Einstein was elected First Vice President at the Eighth International Society for Rock Mechanics, as well as vice president for North America.

Professor Elfatih A.B. Eltahir was awarded the Gilbert Winslow Career Development Chair. He organized a special session in the AGU Fall meeting on land surface processes and climate.

Professor Dara Entekhabi received the American Geophysical Union's Macelwane Award in recognition of significant contributions to the geophysical sciences by a young scientist of outstanding ability.

Professor Lynn W. Gelhar was appointed the William E. Leonhard Professor.

Professor Lorna Gibson is about to publish a second edition of her book Cellular Solids with Mike Ashby of Cambridge.

Professor Phillip Gschwend successfully offered a new summer course on Assessing Organic Pollutants in the Environment.

Professor Harry Hemond chaired the Gordon Conference on Hydrology and Geochemistry of Forested Catchments in New London, New Hampshire. He gave the inaugural lecture for the Bacardi and Stockholm Water Foundation Chair.

Professor Eduardo Kausel was Konrad Zuse Guest Professor at the University of Hamburg.

Professor Charles C. Ladd will receive the 1996 Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers for his co-authored paper, "Reliability Applied to Slope Stability Analysis".

Professor Steven Lerman was appointed to the National Research Council Committee on Information Technology.

Professor Christopher Leung co-chaired a symposium on Smart Structures in the 11th ASCE Engineering Mechanics Conference held in Fort Lauderdale from May 19-22, 1996.

Professor Ole S. Madsen assumed the Chair of the Department's Undergraduate Committee.

Professor David H. Marks is the Coordinator for the MIT/ETH/UT Alliance for Global Sustainability. He leads the MIT multi-disciplinary study "Management of the Future Uses of Chlorine" which had a major workshop in June 1996. He has led the CEE M.Eng. Program this year. He received an Outstanding Service Award from the Department. Professor Marks also co-chairs MIT's Council for the Environment.

Professor Dennis M. McLaughlin began a new collaborative study with ETH to develop sustainable water resources in arid regions. Professor McLaughlin and Professor Steven Lerman are jointly supervising an effort to distribute innovative software for training environmental remediation professionals. He has been promoted to full professor.

Professor Chiang C. Mei was appointed editor of a new book series on Environmental Fluid Mechanics and also helped Kluwer Publishers to form an International Editorial Board. He was appointed by the Italian Ministry of Environment to a five member Review Board for the Venice Lagoon Project.

Professor John Miller developed a new course to the construction management curriculum, 1.441 - Public Infrastructure Development Systems.

Professor Fred Moavenzadeh co-chairs MIT's new Council for International Relations. He is pursuing interests in Brazil and Thailand.

Professor Heidi Nepf, together with Professors Hemond and Thilly, explored an opportunity in distance learning aimed at high school students. They developed instructional material, including a case study, used as preparation for the interactive television program "Mutation Causes Disease". Professor Nepf won the CEE Effective Teaching Award.

The American Society of Civil Engineers' Technical Council on Computer Practices 1995 Best Journal Paper Award went to Professors Feniosky Pena-Mora and Robert Logcher, and Dr. Duvvuru Sriram for their paper, "Design Rationale for Computer-Supported Conflict Mitigation", published in 1995 Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering.

Professor Daniel Roos co-chairs MIT's new Council on Industrial Relationships.

Professor Sarah Slaughter joined the faculty this year. She received an NSF Careers Grant for her work in Computer-based Simulation of Construction Related Activities.

Professor Joseph Sussman received an Outstanding Service Award from the Department earlier this year, and also received a special certificate from ITS-Massachusetts for his pioneering role in the ITS area and his leadership in founding ITS-Massachusetts.

Professor Andrew Whittle developed new design curricula for undergraduate and graduate geotechnical subjects.

Professor John Williams has been one of the leaders of MIT's Design Studio of the Future that most recently received an award for the most significant application of Teleconferencing Programming and/or Distance Learning from the International Teleconferencing Association.

Professor Nigel Wilson is principal investigator of the collaborative research and education program between MIT and the University of Puerto Rico in support of the Tren Urbano project in San Juan.

Professor Shi-Chang Wooh started a new collaboration with the Korea Highway Corporation.


Guided by our Strategic Plan the Department has weathered a difficult year with a small increase in sponsored research activity by faculty and staff. This group is presently responsible for over 12 million dollars of sponsored research.

Our strategy calls for internationalization of our efforts and for the development of larger umbrella projects. We presently have major new efforts in Argentina, Italy and Puerto Rico and hope to soon be involved in Thailand. These involve bilateral or multiparty collaborations and they involve both research and education.

The Intelligent Transportation Systems effort lead by Professor Ben-Akiva is a successful umbrella activity of large magnitude and involving several sponsors. It joins the Aberjona Project that for over five years has involved many faculty and students in logistically studying the natural and manmade environment of an urban watershed.

New opportunities are also opening up for many in CEE under the Alliance for Global Sustainability headed by Professor David H. Marks.

The twist that our new theme will create future opportunities and serve as a unifying research agenda for most of Civil and Environmental Engineering.


Jeffrey Chapman '96 received an undergraduate scholarship by the New England Roundtable of the Council of Logistics Management. He also won the 1996 Chi Epsilon scholarship for the New England District.

Daniel Roth '94 (MS, transportation) received the Charley Wootan Award from the Council of University Transportation for his thesis, "Incremental High-Speed Rail in the US: Economic and Institutional Issues". He currently works at Price Waterhouse.

Robert Armstrong, graduate student in the Master of Science in Transportation program, has been awarded a $2000 scholarship from the George Krambles Transit Scholarship Fund for work related to public transportation.

The Leo `24 and Mary Grossman Award for an outstanding undergraduate in transportation went to Diana M. Dorinson '96.

Winners of the Richard Lee Russel Award for outstanding seniors entering graduate studies in civil and environmental engineering were Eugene Y. Chuang '96, Jane Metzinger '96, Gabriel J. Riopel '96, and Enrique R. Vivoni '96.

Gabriel J. Riopel '96 (1C) received the Steinberg Prize, given to an undergraduate with an excellent academic record and an interest in construction management. He also was selected as the recipient of the Arthur S. Tuttle Memorial National Scholarship Fund.

Xu Jun Eberlein was awarded the second place in the Transportation Science doctoral dissertation prize for her dissertation entitled "Real-Time Control Strategies in Transit Operations: Models and Analysis" which she completed in May 1995. She was a graduate student in DCEE completing her Doctorate in Transportation.

Michael Kashambuzi '97 (1-C) won the $3,360 General Electric Foundation Grant for a summer UROP.

Edmond Toy ('95, M.S.) won a best thesis award from TPP entitled "Screening for Estrogen-mimicking Chemicals: An Assessment of the E-screen and Its Implications".

The Tucker-Voss Award in Building Construction and Engineering was awarded to James F. Kennedy (G).

Rafael L. Bras

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96