MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


Academic year 1996-97 was an event filled year for the Department of Ocean Engineering. While our faculty continued with their long range plan of strengthening our undergraduate program, we were also successful in raising funds to endow an Education Laboratory to help with this effort. The laboratory setup is now complete and operational under the supervision of Professor Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis and Dr. Thomas Consi.

Our strong and vital graduate program continues to attract some of the best students from the United States and around the world. Work on our new graduate curriculum was started in 1995 and we expect it to be in place by September 1998. We also continue with our effort to strengthen our relationship with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. As a result of this effort, our Master of Engineering degree is now part of the joint MIT-Woods Hole Program, combining the best the two institutions have to offer.

Our present faculty continues to engage in research that enjoys national and international recognition. The new Fabrication Laboratory is being developed to assist the Department in its effort to help the U.S. modernize the shipbuilding industry. Professor Masubuchi was instrumental in securing the donation of a state-of-the-art welding robot and its power supply. The welding robot is a key instrument for the new laboratory which is under the supervision of Professor Nicholas M. Patrikalakis.

In this past year six of our senior faculty retired. Two of these, Professors Kerwin and Masubuchi, returned with 49% appointments. One new assistant professor was appointed. This brought our faculty strength to thirteen full-time plus the two at 49% effort. In addition, we have our two U.S. Navy Professors. A search has been completed to recruit an additional faculty member, who will come on board July 1, 1997.


The Department's undergraduate curriculum focuses on five areas: Hydrodynamics and Oceanography; Structures and Materials; Dynamics and Wave Propagation; Mathematics and Computation; and Design/Application/Experience.

During our retreat in December 1996, the Department concluded that its undergraduate curriculum continues to provide a solid foundation in all the basics that make the discipline of Ocean Engineering. As a result, no changes of substance were proposed. The Department reaffirmed its resolve to continue with its investment in the undergraduate program by continuing with our cooperative program with industry, expanding our association with sea going organizations such as the Sea Association, and strengthening our public image. However, as part of our strategy to increase our undergraduate enrollment, we will continue to review our undergraduate program on an annual basis to ensure that it is up to date and fine tune it as necessary. One such example of this fine tuning is the introduction of a common project in the following subjects: 13.016 "Introduction to Geometric Modeling and Computation" (a subject in our Mathematics and Computation area), and 13.017 "Design of Ocean Systems I" (a subject in our Design/Applications/Experience area).

Such coordination between subjects increases the efficiency of our teaching enterprise and provides the students with more comprehensive education.

Our undergraduate enrollment has gradually, but steadily increased from seven in FY93 to fourteen in FY97. Part of our long term strategy is to continue to add to our experimental facilities used in our undergraduate educational program. In 1996 a new testing tank was constructed and used in the instruction of our undergraduate design subject. The new tank is specially equipped with laser-induced visualization capability, which is being used by students in the design and development of small autonomous underwater vehicles. This past spring we set up a new Education Laboratory (Chryssostomidis/Consi) for hands on capabilities by our undergraduate students. This is being funded in part by one of our alumni, Mr. Hin Chew Chung. The only stipulation made by the donor was that the funds be used for education and preferably to provide space where students will be allowed to work together. This laboratory will be used during the academic year to teach our Design subjects 13.017 and 13.018, "Design of Ocean Systems I and II". This way the students will have the space and equipment necessary to work on their designs. We also intend to provide mini-subjects of laboratory techniques needed in modern Ocean Engineering such as marine electronics, bioacoustics and flow visualization. Future plans include development of new curricula to address new and evolving areas in ocean engineering such as biomimisis and new techniques of delivering engineering education. Although the principal focus of the laboratory is Ocean Engineering, some of its products are likely to have wider application.

Dr. Thomas R. Consi, a new addition to the Department, has been brought in specifically to help us develop the Ocean Engineering Education Laboratory. While Professor Chryssostomidis remains the laboratory director, Dr. Consi will handle the day to day operation of the laboratory as the laboratory manager. He has considerable experience advising undergraduates and coordinating undergraduate research. The laboratory is currently operating and has several undergraduates working on projects.

Our Acoustics and Vibration Laboratory (Baggeroer, Schmidt, and Vandiver) and the Crashworthiness Laboratory (Wierzbicki) are currently operating as research facilities, however, they were designed in such a manner as to allow them to be used by our undergraduate as well as graduate program. An Instron machine has recently been relocated to this space and will also be available to our undergraduates to perform basic strength of materials experiments.

The Department, in collaboration with the MIT Sea Grant College Program, continues to be very active in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). During FY97 we had nine UROP students for Fall `96, fifteen for Spring `97, and eleven for the Summer `97. Out of this total of thirty-five students, twelve are from course 13. The Department funded from its General funds (budgeted for UROP), six of these students. The remainder of the students were covered by departmental and Sea Grant research accounts and funds from the UROP Office.

The Department feels that the UROP program is an excellent educational vehicle and we continue to increase our support in this area to allow more undergraduate students to become exposed to the research conducted in our Department. It is our intention to continue this UROP program and make it an integral part of the Education Laboratory.


Our major educational project the last two years has been the revision of our graduate curriculum done in collaboration with our colleagues from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). During our retreat in December, 1996, (as well as during our retreat in January 1996), the results of this major undertaking were extensively discussed.

The new acoustic curriculum redirects the teaching emphasis towards environmental disciplines. The principal focus of the new curriculum is on understanding the ocean acoustic environment, development of man-made systems with less environmental impact and the use of acoustics for measuring environmental properties. Three existing subjects were eliminated and two new subjects were introduced. This consolidation allows the Department to maintain its national leadership in marine acoustics with our current faculty reduction from four to three.

The pedagogical objective of the Ocean Engineering graduate Design and Marine Robotics curriculum is to make students proficient in the entire range of conceptual, preliminary, and detailed design and the production of ocean vehicles. This curriculum supports the Naval Construction and Engineering Course 13A, the M.S. Degrees in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering and the Naval or Ocean Engineer degrees. It also provides the synthesis component required for breadth in our doctoral programs.

We also offer an advanced subject in Computational Geometry in collaboration with Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, thus supporting the Institute in the Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing areas. A new subject in Robotics and Sensor Fusion is currently under consideration. Such a subject would benefit Courses 2 and 6 as well.

The objective of our Hydrodynamics curriculum is to educate students in the fundamentals and applications of hydrodynamics as it impacts the areas of naval architecture and ocean engineering. We once again continue to build upon the strengths of our existing curriculum, thus streamlining our existing subjects and introducing a new theoretical subject addressing viscous and turbulent marine flows. The new hydrodynamics curriculum is composed of one introductory and three basic subjects to introduce our students to the fundamentals of marine hydrodynamics as well as a number of application subjects which will expose our students to the latest developments in hydrodynamic research. Our current curriculum does not cover the experimental hydrodynamics subject to the depth we prefer as we do not have the personnel to develop the necessary research and educational components of a coherent program in this area.

The educational objective of the Management of Marine Systems is to prepare naval architects, marine engineers, and ocean engineers to apply their engineering knowledge in the "real world." To do so, they must understand the social and institutional infrastructure in which they will be working and integrate their engineering knowledge into the management, economics, policy and law aspects of the world around them. Presently the current focus is on shipping and coastal management.

The graduate program in Structures and Structural Engineering gives a student a broad understanding of the behavior of structural components and systems and the material from which they are made. We collaborate with the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering to provide a well rounded curriculum. Our Departmental subjects emphasize those aspects unique to Ocean Engineering. The curriculum in Structures and Structural Dynamics covers all the important needs of the Department, but our manpower is such that it does not allow for any expansion into new areas.

Our current status in graduate curriculum development builds upon the previous curriculum, which placed Ocean Engineering in the forefront of marine education. We continuously monitor our curriculum and our faculty is committed to evaluating all the changes and taking action where necessary.

In addition to the above changes in our curriculum which we expect to be totally integrated into our program by September 98, we also made our Master of Engineering part of the joint MIT-WHOI program. In this manner we now offer a unique educational program that combines the best the two institutions have to offer.


The department's faculty and staff continued in their pursuit of a variety of outstanding research programs. Many of these are currently receiving worldwide attention both inside and outside the field of ocean engineering.

Professor Koichi Masubuchi has recently received funding for further advancement of welding technology from multiple sponsors . This program covers three areas including underwater welding, use of computers in welding, and analysis of reliability of welded structures.

Professor Tomasz Wierzbicki is continuing with Phase II of his Grounding Protection of Oil Tankers. The objective of the project is to upgrade and validate the computer program DAMAGE for grounding analysis of oil tankers and to include in the analysis damage to side, bilge, bow and stern. In addition, an extensive study on strength, ductility and fracture of welds with defects, will be undertaken.

Professor Michael Triantafyllou is working on a three and a half year project to explore the parameters leading to drag reduction and turbulence suppression in fish-like propulsion and to develop flow-sensing apparatus to perform closed-loop studies. In addition, he is also working with Draper Laboratory on a project to optimize the fast-starting maneuver of flexible hull vehicles using an existing robotic mechanism in the OE Testing Tank facility. Professor Triantafyllou also continues to work on his "Robotuna" and his "Robopike", an autonomous fish-like vehicle funded by Sea Grant.

In order to sustain our leadership role, the Department maintains a number of state-of-the-art laboratories. A complete listing of the research laboratories maintained by the Department is given below:



Acoustic & Vibration Laboratory(5-007)
Professor Henrik Schmidt and J. Kim Vandiver
Design Laboratory(5-423)
Professor Chrys Chryssostomidis
Fabrication Laboratory(5-034)
Professor Nicholas Patrikalakis
Impact & Crashworthiness Laboratory(5-007)
Professor Tomasz Wierzbicki
Laboratory for Ship and Platform Flows(5-329B)
Professor Paul Sclavounos
Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratory(3-269)
Professor Justin Kerwin
Testing Tank(48-015)
Professor Michael Triantafyllou
Vortical Flow Research Laboratory(5-303)
Professor Dick Yue
Education Laboratory(5-028)
Professor Chrys Chryssotomidis

Dr. Thomas Consi

Marine Robotics Laboratory(5-025)
Professor John Leonard
Marine Computation & Instrumentation Laboratory(1-225)
Professor Jerome Milgram

The Fabrication Laboratory is a new facility dedicated to research in fabrication techniques of large complex systems. This new laboratory occupies the space formerly occupied by Professor Masubuchi's Welding Laboratory. Professor Masubuchi was instrumental in securing a state-of-the-art welding robot and its power supply from Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Daihen Corporation, respectively. The robot and the power supply donation was made during the major symposium sponsored by Ocean Engineering to celebrate Professor Masubuchi's lifetime achievements and are key instruments for the research of the new laboratory. A dedication ceremony with a brief demonstration was recently held with members of Kawasaki Heavy Industries present, as well as Professor Nicholas M. Patrikalakis, the new Kawasaki Professorship recipient.

The Department continues to enjoy a close relationship with the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Laboratory at Sea Grant and with a number of laboratories at WHOI.


Captain Alan J. Brown, USN continued as Professor and Head of the Naval Construction and Engineering Program with LCDR Mark S. Welsh, USN continuing as Associate Professor of Naval Construction and Engineering.

Dr. William Carey served as a Senior Lecturer in the Department teaching graduate courses in Shallow Water acoustics and sonar technology. He is working with ARPA and MIT to develop a comprehensive report on Shallow Water Sonar Technology which addresses the key performance and system technology issues concerning active/passive system performance in key littoral regions.

Professors Carmichael, Dyer, Newman and Ogilvie retired but continued with student supervision and some teaching and research.

Professor Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis played a key role in obtaining a grant from Hin Chew Chung to set up an endowed account for support of the Education Laboratory in the Department.

Professor Ernst G. Frankel continues with his lecture series in the Center for Advanced Engineering Studies (CAES).

Professors Kerwin and Masubuchi retired but returned with 49% appointments and are active in teaching, student supervision and research.

Professor Justin E. Kerwin was invited to be the Nineteenth Weinblum Memorial Lecturer. This lecture was given in Hamburg, Germany in January 1997 (to coincide with the Weinblum centennial), and in Washington, D.C. in April 1997.

Professor Judith T. Kildow continued working on her book Environmental Management of the Coast, a textbook for her course 13.98J. A copy has been submitted to the publisher and is currently being edited for publication.

Professor John J. Leonard was appointed Assistant Professor effective July 1, 1996. He was awarded the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professorship in Ocean Utilization from 1997-1999.

Professor Henry S. Marcus continues to hold the NAVSEA Chair (through ONR).

Professor Koichi Masubuchi was instrumental in obtaining a grant from the Katayanagi Institute (KI) and setting up the Koh Katayanagi Fund in the Department. Funds from this endowed account will be used to strengthen research and teaching and enhance cooperation between KI and MIT.

Professor Jerome H. Milgram was on sabbatical performing research at WHOI and Johns Hopkins University. At WHOI he worked on the combination of hydrodynamics and control of underwater vehicles. At Johns Hopkins University he has been working on the computer-based signal processing of 3-D Particle Image Velocity Holograms.

Professor T. Francis Ogilvie received an honorary doctorate in naval architecture and marine engineering from National Technical University of Athens in October 1996.

Professor Nicholas M. Patrikalakis received the Kawasaki Professorship effective October 1996.

Professor Henrik Schmidt was an invited presenter on "Real Time Oceanography" to the Marine Board, National Research Council, June 1996. Professor Schmidt also stepped down as CGSP representative effective June 30, 1997.

Professor Paul D. Sclavounos was appointed to the Det Norske Veritas North American Committee Advising DnV Board.

Professor Michael S. Triantafyllou was elected Associate Editor of The Journal of Fluids Engineering (ASME) for three years, 1996-1999.

Professor J. Kim Vandiver became the new CGSP representative effective July 1, 1997. In addition Professor Vandiver continues to serve as Director of the Edgerton Center which provides opportunities for students, especially freshmen, to engage in projects in engineering and science.

Professor Tomasz Wierzbicki was invited to give a series of lectures at the NATO Summer School in Portugal in July 1996 on "Crashworthiness of Transportation Systems - Structural Impact and Occupant Protection."

Professor Dick K.-P. Yue was on sabbatical for FY97 at Stanford University in the Environmental Fluid Mechanics Lab and Center for Turbulence Research. His focus was on particle velocimetry, similar to what is currently being done in the MIT Testing Tank.

Neil Best, a graduate student in Ocean Engineering, received a Sea Grant Industrial Fellowship for FY97.

Justin Manley, also a graduate student in the Department, was the recipient of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) and the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) scholarship awards for FY98.

Mr. J. Paul Marquardt, an undergraduate, was the recipient of the SNAME Undergraduate Scholarship Award for FY97. William R. Kreamer has been nominated for the FY98 award.

The winner of the 1997 Wallace Prize, Ms. Taryn N. Westberg, will be provided a full year of tuition and stipend. Taryn was selected from a list of extremely qualified candidates.

Morten W. Hoegh, a senior in the Department, was presented with a tuition award for academic achievement during his junior year.

Dr. Thomas Consi was awarded the Martin A. Abkowitz International Fellowship which he will use toward covering expenses during his attendance at the 4th European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL97) which will be held in Brighton, England July 97.

In addition, Professor Michael Triantafyllou was also awarded funding which he will use towards providing travel expense funds for students to attend the American Physical Society in San Francisco.

The Fourteenth Wallace Lecture was presented in November 1996 by Dr. James G. Bellingham of the MIT Sea Grant College Program. The title of the lecture was "Observing the Ocean."

The second lecture held in October of 1996 was given by Dr. David Newman on "Simulations of Flow over a Flexible Cable". Dr. Newman is currently a postdoctoral scholar in Caltech's Aeronautics division working in the Solid Mechanics group on parallel 3-D adaptive meshing problems.

This event is part of a series of symposia and workshops established in 1986 to bring together Navy, Industry and Academia to discuss important educational and research issues that affect naval construction and engineering and to help expose our Naval officer-students in Course XIII-A to the communities with which they will have to interact after graduation.

The most recent event was held on May 21-22, 1997. Invited guests included members of the naval-ship design community, U.S. Laboratories and the Office of Naval Research, as well as several major shipbuilders for the U.S. Navy. The featured speaker was the Honorable John Douglass.


Our 17th annual reunion was held at the New York Marriott Marquis on October 3, 1996. Professor Chryssostomidis gave a brief presentation to the alumni and brought them up to date with regard to the department and its activities.

More information about the Department of Ocean Engineering can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97