MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The Department's Strategic Plan is founded on the three pillars of infrastructure, environment and information/ management systems. We seek to educate the leaders and innovators of the profession. We seek discovery, innovation and the development of new behaviors, technologies, and methods that improve the practice of civil and environmental engineering. Our Strategic Plan was revised last year and defines new short term Action Items. They 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.

This past year we made significant progress on several items. The rest of this report summarizes those accomplishments.

The Department re-organized in three groups: Environmental Systems, Engineering Systems, and Engineering and Environmental Mechanics. These groups embrace and supersede the traditional disciplines of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The Department facilities are still divided between the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory and the Henry L. Pierce Laboratory.

Three new educational computer facilities were developed in collaboration with MIT's Information System (IS). The client-server architecture using Windows NT as the operating platform is a test bed and experiment for IS and a possible new model in the post-Athena era.

CEE inaugurated the Design Studio for the Future facilities. This modern teaching environment serves undergraduate and graduate education and builds on a collaboration with the School of Architecture and Planning and the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Faculty salaries are almost completely hardened, i.e., fully budgeted for the 9-month academic year. Our soft money (sponsored research) dependence over the academic year is down to less than 2.5% of faculty salaries.


CEE just completed and approved a major revision of the undergraduate Civil Engineering degree. The goal is to put this new concept into effect by the fall of 1998. The new program provides increased flexibility for students to specialize in the area of system engineering, environment or mechanics. There is considerable new emphasis on design and laboratory experiences throughout this career.

A revision of the Environmental Engineering Science degree is on-going.

Undergraduate enrollment remains stagnant (see Table). We are confident that our new initiatives will be more attractive to MIT undergraduates.


The second class of 32 M.Eng. students graduated this past June. The program continues to improve and is a success. Students are being actively recruited. Out goal is to make this program increasingly attractive to those interested in professional practice and a seemless alternative of graduate education for our undergraduates. Next year we expect another 30 or so students.

As called for in our Action Items, next September we open a new track of study: High Performance Structures. Already 8 new students are enrolled in this option.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Enrollment 1991-1997
Undergraduate Students
Graduate Students
Yearly Total

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Graduate Degrees 1991-1997

Master of Science
Civil Engineer
Yearly Total





Graduate education remains healthy. Enrollments and degrees awarded have been increasing. There is concern about apparent softening of the interest of good U.S. citizens on graduate education, particularly in traditionally strong areas like the environment.

We received over 3000 inquiries and some 405 applications for next fall admission.


Drs. Kevin Amaratunga and Martin Polz have accepted offers and will join the faculty for next academic year.

Professors Daniele Veneziano and Andrew Whittle enjoyed sabbatical leaves this year.

Dr. Eric Adams is heading a new interdisciplinary project through Sea Grant looking at capping of contaminated marine sediments; the project is motivated by the Boston Harbor Navigation Improvement Project, which will begin later this year.

Professor Cynthia Barnhart was the President of Inform's Forum on Women in OR/MS; chaired the NSF Planning Committee for a Workshop on Transportation; and chaired the Membership Task Force, Transportation Science Section.

Professor Moshe Ben-Akiva and his research team at the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Program continue to operate with much success. The ITS Program's microscopic traffic simulator known as "MITSIM" was a winner of Discover Magazine Awards for Technological Innovation. Professor Ben-Akiva was awarded the Edmund K. Turner Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in September 1996.

Professor Rafael L. Bras is the faculty advisor of the new MIT Society of Graduate Fellows for Sustainability. He is a newly appointed editor of Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics and associate editor of The Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.

Professor Oral Buyukozturk is on the Swiss Government's two visiting Committees to evaluate the research and educational programs of ETH in the area of materials science. Professor Buyukozturk delivered the keynote address entitled "Imaging of Concrete Structures" at the International Conference on NDT in Civil Engineering held in Liverpool, England.

Professor Ismail Chabini was awarded the Gilbert Winslow Career Development Chair.

Professor Sallie Chisholm received the Guggenheim Fellowship for her work on the science and policy aspects of Ocean Fertilization.

Professor Jerome Connor won the Effective Teaching Award. The Los Angeles Tall Buildings Structural Design Council has named C.C. Pouanger and Professor Connor winners of their Outstanding 1995 Journal Paper Award for "New Structure Systems for Tall Buildings: The Space-Truss Concept".

Professor Patricia Culligan was awarded a Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professorship. She continued to develop the Geotechnical Centrifuge Modeling Facility in the Department by the commission of a mini-drum centrifuge, which is the only centrifuge of its kind in North America.

Professor Richard de Neufville has served in the Visiting Committees of the Technical University of Delft, University of Utrecht, and Technical University of Eindhoven.

Professor Peter S. Eagleson is the winner of the 1997 Stockholm Water Prize for "single-handedly elevating hydrology to the level of a major scholarly science".

Professor Dara Entekhabi was awarded tenure this year. He received the prestigious Macelwane Award of the American Geophysical Union.

Professor Herbert Einstein's seven year effort to significantly change engineering education received in-house acceptance through a major revision of the Civil Engineering undergraduate curriculum.

Professor Elfatih A. B. Eltahir's was honored with the prestigious Young Investigator Award from NASA. His research on the potential link between deforestation and droughts in West has received broad attention in the popular and scholarly scientific arena.

Professor Lynn W. Gelhar served on expert panels reviewing technical aspects of risk/performance assessments for Department of Energy's Nevada nuclear weapons testing site and the proposed low activity tank waste disposal at Hanford, Washington. He is also serving on an expert panel reviewing hydrogeologic aspects of the proposed high level radioactive waste disposal facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

Dr. John Germaine was elected Second Vice Chairman of ASTM Committee D18 on Soil and Rock.

The first person to hold the newly endowed Matoula S. Salapatas Professorship in Materials Science and Engineering is Professor Lorna Gibson, who has a joint appointment in CEE and ME.

Professor Philip Gschwend was appointed Ford Professor of Engineering.

Professor Harry Hemond was named William E. Leonhard Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has just signed a publishing agreement for a new edition of the textbook, Chemical Fate and Transport in the Environment, co-authored with CEE alum Elizabeth Fechner-Levy.

Professor Eduardo Kausel has been named Fellow of ASCE and Honor Faculty Member of Chi Epsilon, the National Civil Engineering Honor Society. He is now co-editor of a new series of books on earthquake engineering.

Professor Charles Ladd, John Christian `58, `59, `66 and Gregory Baecher `70 and `72 were recently given the Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award by the ASCE at its annual convention in Washington. The award recognizes their paper, "Reliability Applied to Slope Stability Analysis" in the Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, December 1994.

Professor Steven R. Lerman continues as the Director of the MIT Center for Educational Computing which merged at the start of this year into the newly-created Center for Advanced Educational Services. Starting June 15, 1997, he will be the Associate Chair of the MIT Faculty.

Professor Christopher Leung became associate editor of ASCE's, Journal of Infrastructure Systems, and ASCE's Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering.

Professor Ole S. Madsen spearheaded, as Chair of the Department's Undergraduate Committee, the revision of the I-C Undergraduate Program's Curriculum. Professor Madsen is the 1997 recipient of the Samuel M. Seegal `22 Prize, a prize designated for "that faculty member in business or in civil engineering, who more than any other, inspired students in pursuing and achieving excellence".

Professor David H. Marks continues in his leadership of CEE Masters of Engineering Degree. He continues his work as MIT Coordinator for the Alliance for Global Sustainability, Co-chair of MIT Council on Environment, Director of the MIT Program for Environmental Engineering Education and Research, and the environmental portion of the MIT Ford Partnership.

Professor Dennis B. McLaughlin was honored with the H.M. King Bhumipol Professor Chair which honors the monarch of Thailand.

Professor Chiang C. Mei was appointed Head of the new Engineering and Environmental Mechanics Group in the Department. He also chaired and helped organize a workshop on Mechanics in Modern Science and Technology in Taipei, April 26-28, 1997, with a view to establishing a Research Institute of Mechanics in Academia Sinica (Chinese Academy).

Professor John Miller completed ten case studies addressing project delivery and finance of large complex public infrastructure projects in the United States and Canada. The case studies serve as curriculum development materials and as part of his ongoing research into new approaches for long term delivery of sustainable infrastructure portfolios.

As director of the Technology and Development Program, Professor Fred Moavenzadeh has been leading MIT's thrust into international research and education.

Professor Heidi Nepf won an NSF Career Award for her work in wetland hydrodynamics. She also won the Department's Effective Teaching Award. She was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Water Resources at the University of Western Australia during May and June 1997.

Professor Feniosky Peña-Mora received a fellowship form the Marion and Jaspe Foundation to spend a month in the University of Sidney, Australia, working on research in collaborative negotiation methodologies. Professor Peña-Mora is also the recipient of the Gilbert W. Winslow Career Development Chair and an award from the James H. Ferry Jr. Fund for Innovation in Research.

The Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development and its Director, Daniel Roos, continue to promote industrial research in the Institute. Professor Roos co-chaired the Provost's Council on Industrial Relations.

Professor Yossi Sheffi developed and shepherded the creation of a new Master of Engineering in Logistics.

Professor Sarah Slaughter was appointed to the National Research Council Committee on the Outsourcing of Design and Construction Management Services for Federal Facilities. She was awarded the Gilbert Winslow Career Development Chair Professor

Professor Joseph M. Sussman writes a column entitled "Thoughts on ITS" for the ITS Quarterly. He continues as chair of the Graduate Education and Admissions Committee.

Professor Bettina Voelker joined the faculty in 1996. In the spring term, she developed a new graduate course called Environmental Chemical Kinetics (1.761). She also co-chaired a symposium, The Role of Speciation in Trace Element Fate and Transport, at the American Chemical Society's spring meeting in San Francisco, April 13-17, 1997.

Professor Emeritus Robert V. Whitman was made an Honorary Member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). He continued in his leadership role guiding the development of a new earthquake loss estimation methodology. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has now released to first version of the software (called HAZUS) for use by state and cities.

Professor Andrew Whittle and his former student, Yousef Hashash, will receive the 1997 Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award for the best paper published by ASCE in the field of Geotechnical Engineering.

Professor John Williams was awarded tenure.

Professor Nigel Wilson was appointed leader of the newly created Engineering Systems Group in the Department. A two year extension was approved for the collaborative research and education program between MIT and the University of Puerto Rico in support of the Tren Urbano project in San Juan. Nigel Wilson serves as principal investigator for this program which involves eight MIT faculty and fifteen graduate students.

Professor Shi-Chang Wooh received the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Chair.


CEE sees itself as a Hub Department and actively pursues interdisciplinary research via associated centers and other units and groups at MIT. Through the Technology and Development Program, our faculty is pursuing its international interests. We are involved in Argentina, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Through the Program of Environmental Engineering Education and Research, the Alliance of Global Sustainability, the Center of Environmental Health Science, and the Center of Global Change Science, we pursue large efforts related to the environment. The traditional involvement with the Center for Transportation Studies includes very successful and large activities in "intelligent transportation" and urban transportation, the latter in the form of the Tren Urbano, a research and education initiative in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico. The MIT-Woods Hole Joint Program is the home of education and research in the ocean sciences and engineering for many of our faculty. Our long-standing interaction with Sea Grant continues.


Winners of the Richard Lee Russel Award for outstanding seniors entering graduate studies in Civil and Envionmental Engineering were Phoebe Lam `97, Christopher Marx `97, and Laurel Schaider `97.

Christina Marsh `97 (1-C) received the Steinberg Prize given to an undergraduate with an excellent academic record and an interest in construction management.

Brigette Burnell '98 (1-C) was first prize in the Parke A.(`27) and Ann. L. Hodges Award, for her paper entitled, Coral Bleaching.

Daeki Kim (1-C) with Professor Cynthia Barnhart won the best student paper award for "Multimodal Express Shipment Service" at 20th International Computer and Industrial Engineering Conference, Korea.

Winner of the 1996/97 National Student Award for Region One of the University Transportation Centers Program is Lisa Klein `97 (MST).

James Kennedy `97 received the Hugh Hampton Young Memorial Fellowship through the Graduate Education Office.

Joseph Mendoza `97, Gema Optiz `97, and Gregorio Cruz `98 won General Electric Foundation Grants for UROP work.

Orjan Gustafsson (1-C) won the American Chemical Society's Division of Geochemistry best student paper entitled "Soot as a Strong Partition Medium for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Aquatic Systems".

The Effective Teaching Award for a TA was awarded to Santanu Das (1-C).

More information about the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL: http://WEB.MIT.EDU/CIVENV/

Rafael L. Bras

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97