MIT Reports to the President 1995-96


The academic year 1995-96 was another excellent year for the department. The research program of the department continued to grow. The faculty continue to engage in research that enjoys national and international recognition. The educational program continues to be strong and vital attracting some of the best students from around the world.

Our faculty body was strengthened by the addition of John J. Leonard. Professor Leonard will be working in the area of marine robotics an area of future growth for the department. John did his graduate work at Oxford and his post graduate training at MIT Sea Grant College Program at the Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Laboratory. Professor J. R. Fricke decided to return to private industry thus resigned from his position in January 1996. Dr. Fricke's contributions will be surely missed especially his involvement in the undergraduate program of our department. He was a gifted teacher well liked by our students.

Six of our senior faculty opted to accept the special retirement offered by the Institute. They are, Professors Carmichael, Dyer, Kerwin, Masubuchi, Newman and Ogilvie. However, Dyer, Kerwin and Masubuchi will continue with their educational and research programs with half time appointments. Professors Carmichael and Ogilvie volunteered their services and will be involved in the teaching and administration of the department for at least one more year. This guarantees that the transition between the retiring faculty and our new faculty will be a smooth one.

The department is continuing initiatives which begun in recent years and is undertaking several new ones. Highlights of these efforts are given below.


The Department's new undergraduate program in the Fall of 1993. The new curriculum focuses in five areas:

Hydrodynamics and Oceanography
Structures and Materials
Dynamics and Wave Propagation
Mathematics and Computation

When we introduced the new undergraduate curriculum in 1993, the Department also introduced a minor in Ocean Engineering. This program is intended for undergraduates who wish to broaden their overall education. This program is specifically recommended to students who eventually plan to practice their major discipline in an ocean related application, or who intend to pursue later graduate education in Ocean Engineering or Naval Architecture.

The Department, in collaboration with the MIT Sea Grant College Program, continues to be very active in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). The Department feels that the UROP program is an excellent educational vehicle and increased its budget in this area in order to allow more undergraduate students to become exposed to the research conducted in our department.

The Department also continues to add to its experimental facilities used in our undergraduate educational program. This year a new tank was constructed and used in the instruction of our undergraduate design subject. The new tank is especially equipped with laser-induced visualization capability, which would be used by students in the design and development of small autonomous underwater vehicles. Future plans include expanding our educational laboratory space and hiring new staff to oversee activity in this area.

Our faculty and staff continue to stay active in the freshman seminars. The purpose of these seminars are to integrate freshmen into the research life at MIT and make them aware of possible opportunities in the marine field. Professor J.K. Vandiver continues to direct the Edgerton Center for the Institute. The Edgerton Center provides opportunities for students, especially freshmen, to engage in projects in engineering and science.

By investing significant resources to our undergraduate program we have already started reaping some rewards. In particular, the number of undergraduate students interested in marine related education continues to rise. Currently there are seven confirmed sophomores entering in the Fall Term `96. This is almost twice as many as we had the year before. There is also a growing interest in 13.010, Introduction to Ocean Science and Technology. We had 16 registered students ending with a total of 14 students.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) reviewed the Ocean Engineering undergraduate program during the month of October 1-3, 1995. The overall assessment of the three day meeting was a strong endorsement of the department's curriculum and faculty teaching and advising.


In 1993 our focus shifted from undergraduate to graduate education issues. Our first major initiative was the development of a new professional program leading to a Master of Engineering emphasizing the multidisciplinary nature of the marine environmental problems. The content and structure of the new program combine into a coherent curriculum the key ingredients of marine systems-management, engineering technology and marine science. This program provides professionals with the needed breadth to work in the marine environmental field, from understanding the legal, political and economic context to designing a mitigation system for cleaning up pollution; from designing safe, environmentally friendly ships to developing monitoring systems for studying global climate change or measuring ocean pollution. With a strong emphasis on problem solving, practical applications, and field experience, the program provides a hands-on familiarity with the field. This year saw the completion of the curriculum for this program.

Our current major activity in graduate education involved the revision of our graduate curriculum. Professors Brown, Ogilvie, Vandiver and Schmidt(chair) have been asked to work with the faculty of the department and our colleagues at WHOI to come up with a revised graduate curriculum to reflect recent advances in our field. The same topic was also discussed in a departmental retreat held last January.

The first accomplishment in this area is the development of our new curriculum in ocean acoustics. It builds on the existing curriculum by continuing to emphasize the fundamentals of ocean acoustics. However, it also adds subject matter to expose our students in some of the new areas of Ocean Engineering, some of which were pioneered by our department. These include interchange of information in the ocean environment, navigation of underwater vehicles, simulation of the acoustic environment and the design of marine measurement systems.

We are now working in the area of hydrodynamics curriculum. Again, our new curriculum will be built on the strengths of our existing one. Our new curriculum will streamline our existing subjects and introduce a new theoretical subject addressing viscous and turbulent marine flows. Our hydrodynamics curriculum will be composed of one introductory subject and four basic subjects to introduce our students to the fundamentals of marine hydrodynamics and a number of application subjects to expose our students to the latest developments in hydrodynamics research.

A future area targeted for development is shipbuilding. This will contribute in the national effort of rebuilding commercial shipbuilding in the US. Our first subject has already been developed and introduced in our Naval Construction curriculum. In the coming years we hope to revise and streamline all other areas of our graduate curriculum. As we develop the new curriculum we also continue with the effort we started last year where faculty from our department and other engineering departments share the instructional duties of some of the basic subjects offered in various engineering departments.


The department's faculty and staff pursued a variety of outstanding research programs, including some that are receiving wide attention inside as well as outside the field of Ocean Engineering. Professor Milgram has completed a twelve year effort on the dynamics of towing systems in large waves at sea. This is one of the few situations of the type which we all seek where procedures based on the most fundamental science give results which are fully applicable in a practical engineering environment and situation. The complete theory and its application are described in a paper by Professor Milgram in the December, 1995, issue of the Journal of Ship Research.

When a portion of the work was completed in 1987, the Navy requested use of this work to produce systematic results which formed the basis of the dynamic tension statistics section 1988 U.S. Navy Towing Manual. This document is the "operational bible" of Navy towing salvage ships at sea and of the offshore tow planning done at the Navy Office of the Supervisor of Salvage. Now that we have developed methods of its practical applications, we have once again been asked by the Navy to run a set of systematic simulations for them. This time the results will be used not only in the next addition of the U.S. Navy Towing Manual, but also in a computer system that will be abroad all Navy towing and salvage ships and running at the related Navy offices.

In January , 1995 the department agreed to collaborate with FastShip Atlantic, Inc. The commercialization of such a technology could lead to a rebound in American competitiveness in shipbuilding and an expanded role in the US in global transportation of high value cargo. MIT has developed a methodology that is being used to analyze hundreds of commodities presently traveling by air and sea across the North Atlantic. This analysis will predict which volume of cargo will be directed to FastShip. Professor Marcus indicates that this methodology and its applications on the North Atlantic will allow us and others to evaluate the role of faster ships to move high value cargo. Professor Sclavounos carried out the hydrodynamics evaluation of the design of the FastShip. In a related effort the department is also assisting Massachusetts Heavy Industries in their effort to reintroduce shipbuilding at the Fall River Shipyard (Quincy Shipyard).

Professor Triantafyllou has continued research on "Rapid Maneuvering of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles through Vorticity Control". The long term objectives are to study experimentally and theoretically the mechanisms of vorticity control that allow very fast starting and rapid maneuvering in fish and to explore ways for technological developments leading to their use in autonomous underwater vehicles.

Our joint research with MIT Sea Grant's Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Laboratory is continuing. The objective of the project is to develop robust and reliable, high resolution navigation concepts, high resolution tomography approaches, and optimal, adaptive sampling strategies for collection of oceanographic and geological data by autonomous underwater vehicles operating in a large aperture sampling network. The Sea Grant effort is led by Dr. James G. Bellingham while the department's effort is led by Professor Henrik Schmidt.


Professor Ira Dyer was the recipient of the Gold Medal of the Acoustical Society of America, its highest award, which was awarded in May, 1996 at the Indianapolis meeting of the Society.

The Linnard Prize at the 1995 Annual Meeting of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers was awarded for a paper entitled "A Coupled Navier-Stokes Potential Flow Method for the Design of Ducted, Multi-stage Propulsors using Generalized Geometry" to Professor Justin Kerwin, Dr. David Keenan and Gregg Diggsad Scott Black graduate students.

Professor Justin Kerwin has been invited to present the Nineteenth Weinblum Memorial Lecture in Bremen, Germany in October, 1996 and at the National Academy of Sciences in April 1997.

Professor Judith T. Kildow was on sabbatical. Her major objective was to complete her book entitled "Environmental Principles and Management Strategies".

Visiting Professor Hiroshi Kagemoto, of the University of Tokyo is working with Professor Dick Yue on research projects in hydrodynamics.

Professor Henry S. Marcus was the third to hold the chair of Matson Distinguished Professor of Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawaii during his 94-95 sabbatical.

Professor Koichi Masubuchi received the "Order of Sacred Treasure, with Gold Rays and a Neck Ribbon". This award was given by the government of Japan following the order by the Emperor.

Professor Nick Newman was on sabbatical. He used his sabbatical to visit some of his research collaborators to exchange ideas and to continue with his own research in hydrodynamics

Visiting Professor Finn Nielsen of the Norwegian Institute of Technology, Trondheim, spent a year at MIT working with Professors Nick Newman and Paul Sclavounos and our other hydrodynamics faculty.

Professor Triantafyllou's paper on Robotuna ("Scientific American, March 95) was named highlight paper of 1995 in the 150th Anniversary Issue of the Scientific American, September 1995.

Lieutenant Commander Mark Welsh was appointed as Associated Professor of Ocean Engineering in July, 1995 and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding leadership and superlative innovation while serving as the Deputy Research and Development Manager and Integrated Product Team for New Attack Submarine program office.

Professor Tomasz Wierzbicki spent his sabbatical primarily in Germany and France. He continued with his research on Tanker Safety and initiated some new research in the area of crashworthiness.

Michael S. Drooker resigned form our department to accept an offer as Senior Consultant with Information Systems here at the Institute.

Dr. Thomas Korsmeyer has been offered a position on the research staff in RLE here at the Institute. This become effective on July 1, 96. Dr. Korsmeyer continues to hold the title of lecturer in our department.

Dr. Seamus Tuohy resigned from the staff of the design laboratory . He accepted an offer to work at The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass. Seamus is presently holding a title of Lecturer here in the Ocean Engineering Department.

Two graduate students, Beth Lurie and Todd Taylor received the Graduate Student Paper award at the SNAME annual meeting for their paper on sailboat propellers.

Taryn Westberg, Paul Marquardt and Jason Miller (undergraduates) took the initiative to develop a team project, carried out in the Fall of `95 in subject 13.016, Introduction to Geometric Modeling and Computation, into a SNAME student paper. This work, which was carried out in January, 1996 during Independent Activities Period, was presented in January, 1996 at the New England Section student paper night. We learned in June that their paper was selected for the national undergraduate student paper award.


The winner of the 1996 Wallace Prize was awarded to Jason E. Miller. Jason was selected from a list of extremely strong candidates.


Dr. Charles Mazel, of the Department of Ocean Engineering and Edgerton Center, was awarded the Martin A. Abkowitz Fellowship to attend the 8th International Coral Reef Symposium in Panama City, Panama, in June, 1996.


The T. Francis Ogilvie Lectureship, was awarded to Dr. Alexander Weigand of the California Institute of Technology who gave a presentation on "Quantitative Visualization for Vortical Flow Research", on December 5, 1995.


Alumni Reunion was held at the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. on October 5, 1995. Professor Chryssostomidis addressed the alumni and outlined some of the key initiatives in shipping and shipbuilding that the department is planning to undertake in the foreseeable future.

Chryssostomas Chryssostomidis

MIT Reports to the President 1995-96