MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


During the past several years the Department has completed the implementation of its Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) program as the one that is recommended for undergraduate students who wish to pursue a career in engineering. Those who stop at the bachelor's level are well prepared for further study leading to careers in a variety of professions such as law, medicine, or public service. Those who continue on to the doctorate are well prepared for a career in research, teaching, scholarship, and other occupations where one has to understand what things are like on the frontiers of knowledge.

The M.Eng. program is a five-year program leading to the simultaneous award of bachelor's and master's degrees. At this time about two thirds of the Department's undergraduates continue to receive the M.Eng. degree. The curriculum is seamless between the traditional disciplines of electrical engineering and computer science, and is also seamless between undergraduate and graduate study.

The Department's bachelor's programs (there are three of them) received accreditation by ABET and CSAB. Two of the programs were previously accredited, and reaccreditation was anticipated. The third program, which had not been previously accredited, gives students a degree of flexibility not normally present in accredited programs. Nevertheless, this third program was not only accredited, but was even back-accredited so as to apply to all students who had graduated from the program in the past.

Undergraduate enrollment in computer science has grown dramatically in the past few years. Traditionally one third of the EECS undergraduates majored in computer science, and two thirds in electrical engineering. Recently the statistics have shown that about two thirds favor CS, and only one third EE. This trend is anticipated to continue. The Department must be prepared to shift the balance of its faculty to more closely approximate student interest. We will find this easier than many other universities where EE and CS are in different departments.

Overall enrollment in EECS continues to be high, and the students continue to be extraordinarily well qualified academically.

For the past two decades our computer science faculty and graduate students have had their offices and laboratories in a building that is off campus. This geographical barrier has tended to impede collaboration between CS faculty and those on campus, and has worked against the notion that the fields of EE and CS are really closely related and, indeed, can best be thought of as a single discipline. We are currently raising the money necessary to erect a new building on campus, adjacent to one of the laboratories housing many EECS faculty. The computer-science laboratories currently off campus (the Laboratory for Computer Science and the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) will move into this building, along with the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems. If the funds are raised promptly, construction could begin in 1998.


Enrollment of undergraduates averaged 1000 in 1996-1997 with about 30 percent in the Electrical Engineering Program, 40 percent in the Computer Science Program, and 30 percent in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Program. From the Class of 1999, 370 students were enrolled in Course VI, up significantly from the preceding year. About 310 students from the Class of 1999 have so far selected Course VI, with only 16 percent choosing 6-1, 50 percent 6-2, and 34 percent 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 performance on a Master of Engineering thesis in Electrical Engineering was won by Emilija Simic of Boston, MA, Abram P. Dancy of Merrimack, NH, and Pablo L. Narvaez-Guarnieri of Cambridge, MA.

The David Adler Memorial Prize for outstanding performance on master of engineering thesis in computer sicnece was given to Steven E. Shaw of Mansfield, CT.

The Charles and Jennifer Johnson Thesis Prize for outstanding performance on Master of Engineering thesis in computer science was awarded to Matthew H. Fredette of North Andover, MA.

The Morris Joseph Levin Award-Best MasterWorks Oral Thesis Presentation Prize was awarded to Nimisha Mehta of Jackson Heights, NY, and David M. Murphy of Winchester.

The George C. Newton UG Lab Prize for the best undergraduate laboratory project as awarded jointly to Guang-Ien Cheng of Potomac, MD, Michael Sung of Woburn, MA, and Allen C. Sun of Gaithersburg, MD.

The Robert A. Fano UROP Award was given to M. Josephine Ammer of Cambridge, MA, Ekaterina Dolginova of Schenectady, NY, and Damian Megna of Northbridge, MA.

The Northern Telecom/BNR Project Awards were made to William A. Lentz of Las Cruces, NM, Calvin J. Lin of Cambridge, MA, Rex Min of Newport News, VA, and Alvar Saenz-Otero of Cambridge,MA.

The David A. Chanen Writing Award was given to Lukasz A. Weber of Indio, CA.

The Nylander Award Advanced UG Project was given to Grant I. Ho of Cambridge, MA.

The Department Heads Special Recognition Award was given to Nimisha V. Mehta of Jackson Heights, NY.

The Norman R. Carson Outstanding EE Junior Award - Eta Kappa Nu was given to Ashwin Viswanathan.

The Richard J. Caloggero Award was given to Anne M. Hunter, the administrator of the Department's Undergraduate and M.Eng. programs.


In September, 1996 there were 792 graduate students enrolled in the department. About 20 percent of the total were foreign nationals. The department supported 430 Research Assistants and 109 Teaching Assistants. In addition, there were 170 fellowships including 55 National Science Foundation Fellows, and 27 Department of Defense Fellows. The remaining students had industrial or foreign support or were using their own funds.

During 1996, the department awarded 105 Master of Science degrees, 7 Electrical Engineer degrees and 69 Doctoral degrees.

The department received 1741 applications for the 1996-97 year, a slight decrease from 1995. The applications continue to be generally excellent and 268 were admitted for 1996 (February, June and September), of whom 123 registered in September.

A number of awards were made to graduate students for excellence in teaching. O. Patrick Kreidl of Somerville, MA, received the Carlton E. Tucker Award and Lon E. Sunshine of Framingham, MA, received the Harold L. Hazen Award. The Frederick C. Hennie III Awards for excellence in teaching were presented to James C. Hoe of Cambridge, MA, and Sean C. Warnick of Cambridge, MA. Kathleen E. Wage of Cambridge, MA, Patrick J. LoPresi of Brighton, MA, and Matthew Secor of Cambridge, MA, were promoted to Instructor-G in recognition of their demonstrated teaching ability and service to the department.


In its 80th year, the department's VI-A Internship Program continues to maintain its popularity and excellent performance. This year 147 students applied during the annual orientation and selection process and 80 applicants were selected as members of the incoming VI-A class. In comparison, in 1996 161 students applied and 80 were selected. Since the last report, approximately 26 students have withdrawn from the VI-A Program. Some students felt the opportunities within the on-campus M.Eng. program better matched their needs. In spite of this trend, the Program continues to provide excellent educational opportunities and the companies have ensured their commitment of challenging assignments.

The financial support for VI-A graduate students is also very good. Of the 28 VI-A companies in the Program, seven offer their own programs while 18 companies participate in the VI-A Fellowship program which pays one term MIT tuition while the student is working on a Master's thesis at a company, a stipend that is comparable to those available to on-campus assistantship and fellowship recipients, and medical insurance. Only three VI-A companies do not offer any VI-A graduate student support.

In June, 30 students received the M.Eng. degree having completed all their company assignments and Institute degree requirements. There were 35 students who were awarded their Bachelor's degree and most of them will continue into the graduate phase of the Program.

There were five additions to VI-A this spring: Hewlett-Packard added its LaserJet Division in Boise, ID; Lucent Technologies in NJ; PairGain Technologies in Tustin, CA; Silicon Valley Group with locations in Wilton, CT, and Orange and San Jose, CA; and Teradyne in Agoura Hills and San Jose, CA. The David Sarnoff Research Center and Motorola's Land Mobile Products Sector did not recruit students this year and Siemens ROLM has withdrawn from the Program. Other companies have expressed interest in participating, so the program size should remain constant.

At the annual Department Awards Reception held in the West Wing of the Museum of Science in Boston, the following VI-A students were honored. William A. Lentz was a recipient of the Northern Telecom/BNR Project Award; Michael Sung received a George C. Newton Undergraduate Laboratory Prize; Emilija Simic received an Ernst A. Guillemin Thesis Award; M. Josephine Ammer was one of the recipients of the Robert M. Fano UROP Award; and Grant I. Ho was the recipient of the Nylander Award Advanced Undergraduate Project.

At the 1997 Awards Convocation three VI-A students were among those honored. N. Katherine Merrilees was a recipient of the Malcolm G. Kispert Award; Novice M. Johnson was a recipient of the Albert G. Hill Prize and Grant I. Ho was awarded the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts for his excellence as a violinist.

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences named 26 sophomores and juniors as Burchard Scholars for 1997. Students are chosen who have demonstrated a commitment to the humanities and social sciences. Maya R. Said was one of the students so honored.

Excellence in scholarship continues amongst the students in the Program. Of the 94 students from the School of Engineering who were elected to Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honorary, 12 were VI-A's and Eta Kappa Nu, the Course VI Honorary, elected 73 members of whom 27 were VI-A's. Fifty-five seniors were elected to MIT's Xi Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa this year. Included in the group of honorees were four VI-A students: Anthony J. Accardi, Debajit Ghosh, Kenneth S. Hon and Emilija M. Simic.

The 1996-97 Ilona Karmel Writing Prizes recognized the writing achievements of 24 students in the categories of essay, drama, poetry, short story, fiction, and scientific and technical writing. First place in the Boit Manuscript Prize for drama was awarded to Lawrence K. Chang for "Copper Spaghetti."

Eight students who made outstanding contributions to the cultural life of MIT were recognized at the annual Music and Theater Arts awards ceremony. Christopher H. Rohrs was a recipient of a Ragnar and Margaret Naess Award for exceptional talent and commitment to private performance study.


Five new faculty members joined the department this year:

Saman P. Amarasinghe, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, received his Ph.D. at Stanford University.

John M. Chapin, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, received his Ph.D. at Stanford University.

Leonard McMillan, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, received his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina.

Alexandre Megretski, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, received his Ph.D. at Leningrad University and came to MIT from a faculty position at Iowa State University.

Rajeev J. Ram, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, received his Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego.

Associate Professors Jesús A. del Alamo and Jacob K. White were promoted to Professor. Assistant Professors Duane S. Boning, Steven B. Leeb, and Mitchell D. Trott were promoted to Associate Professor.

Honors and awards received by our faculty this year include:

Professor Dimitri A. Antoniadis was named Ray and Maria Stata Professor of Electrical Engineering.

Professor Dimitri P. Bertsekas received the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science Prize for his book Neuro-Dynamic Programming and the Research Behind It, coauthored with Professor John N. Tsitsiklis.

Professor Rodney A. Brooks was named Fujitsu Professor of Computer Science and Engineering.

Assistant Professor Anantha P. Chandrakasan was named Analog Devices Career Development Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering.

Institute Professor Mildred S. Dresselhaus won the Sigri Great Lakes Carbon Award of the American Carbon Society.

Adjunct Professor G. David Forney was named Bernard M. Gordon Adjunct Professor. He also won the Cristoforo Colombo Award in International Communication and the Marconi International Fellowship for significant contribution to the advancement of the technology of communications.

Professor Shafrira Goldwasser received the Grace Murray Hopper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery. She was also named RSA Professor of Computer Science and Engineering.

Professor Alan J. Grodzinsky received the Melville Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for the best original paper ("A Molecular Model of Proteoglycan-Associated Electrostatic Forces in Cartilage Mechanics") across all fields of mechancial engineering.

Assistant Professor David R. Karger received an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship.

Assistant Professor Steven B. Leeb won the Junior Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was also named Carl Richard Soderberg Assistant Professor in Power Engineering.

Professor Barbara H. Liskov was named Ford Professor of Engineering.

Professor Tomás Lozano-Pérez was named Cecil H. Green Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. He also received the Department Head's Special Recognition Award for his work on revising the department's doctoral program.

Professor Nancy A. Lynch was elected a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. She was also named NEC Professor of Software Science and Engineering.

Professor Alan V. Oppenheim was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow. He was also named Ford Professor of Engineering.

Professor Stephen D. Senturia received the Department Head's Special Recognition Award for his work on revising the department's doctoral program.

Associate Professor Lynn A. Stein was named a Science Scholar at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College.

Professor Kenneth N. Stevens received the Frank E. Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising.

Assistant Professor Seth Teller received an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship.

Professor John N. Tsitsiklis received the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science Prize for his book Neuro-Dynamic Programming and the Research Behind It, coauthored with Professor Dimitri P. Bertsekas.

Professor George C. Verghese received the Frank E. Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising.

Associate Professor Gregory W. Wornell was named Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Associate Professor.

The following faculty were on sabbatical for all or part of the year: Professors Sanjoy K. Mitter, Robert C. Berwick,

Alan J. Grodzinsky, Charles G. Sodini, Jin A. Kong, Harold Abelson, Roger G. Mark, Silvio Micali and Associate Professor Martin A. Schmidt

The department hosted seven visiting faculty:

Professor James W. Demmel, from the University of California, Berkeley, hosted by Professor Alan Edelman.

Associate Professor Alan D. Fekete, from the University of Sydney, hosted by Professor Nancy A. Lynch.

Associate Professor Stephanie Forrest, from the University of New Mexico, hosted by Professor Rodney A.Brooks.

Associate Professor Vivek Sarkar, from the IBM Academy of Technology and Stanford University, hosted by Professor Arvind.

Assistant Professor Nir N. Shavit, from Tel Aviv University, hosted by Professor Nancy A. Lynch.

Associate Professor Katherine A. Yelick, from the University of California, Berkeley, hosted by Professors Charles E. Leiserson and John V. Guttag.

Assistant Professor Kenneth Yip, from Yale University, hosted by Gerald J. Sussman.

The following retired from the faculty this year: Professors Abraham Bers, Fernando J. Corbató, Alvin W. Drake, Shaoul Ezekiel, Lawrence S. Frishkopf, Robert G. Gallager, Leonard A. Gould, Alan L. McWhorter, Frederic R. Morgenthaler, Richard D. Thornton and Institute Professor Hermann A. Haus.

We note with sadness the death of Gordon S. Brown on August 23, 1996 at the age of 89. Professor Brown served as department head (1952-1959), as Chairman of the Faculty (1951-1952) and as Dean of Engineering (1959-1968). He was named Institute Professor in 1973. He earned three degrees at MIT and joined the faculty in 1939. He influenced the directions of engineering education more than anyone else in the past 50 years. He advanced his vision of an undergraduate education based on fundamental science--"engineering science"--which today forms the guiding principle behind most, if not all, engineering education at MIT and elsewhere.

Paul Penfield, Jr.

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97