MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


In September of 1998, Tomás Lozano-Pérez took over from John Guttag as Associate Department Head from Computer Science. In January of 1999, John Guttag took over from Paul Penfield as Department Head and Rafael Reif replaced Jeff Shapiro as Associate Department Head from Electrical Engineering. After ten years of dedicated administrative service to the Department and the Institute, Professors Penfield and Shapiro happily returned to classroom teaching and research.

The Department's undergraduate and master of engineering programs continue to thrive, with total enrollment at an all time high. Our electrical engineering program continues to be our smallest and the program that combines electrical engineering and computer science our largest. This is significantly different from both the traditional distribution of student interest and the distribution of our faculty.

The doctoral program too is healthy. Its size has remained almost constant. We continue to be extremely selective in our admissions process, especially in Areas I and II. Over the last two years we have been working on restructuring some aspects of our doctoral program, and are expecting to institute significant changes in the next academic year.

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. Although only a short distance from the nearest building housing EE activities, the walk involves crossing two busy streets and a set of railroad tracks, discouraging casual, spontaneous interactions. This has tended to impede collaboration between CS faculty and those on campus. Thanks to the generosity of many donors, we are now well on the way to solving this problem. The design of the Ray and Maria Stata Center is almost complete, and we expect to break ground in the winter of 2000 and move in the fall of 2002.


Enrollment of undergraduates averaged 1070 in 1998—1999 as it did in 1997—1998, with 16 percent in the Electrical Engineering Program, 41 percent in the Computer Science Program, and 43 percent in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Program. From the Class of 2001, 360 students were enrolled in Course VI, up slightly from the preceding year. About 340 students from the Class of 2002 have so far selected Course VI, with only 12 percent choosing 6-1, 60 percent 6-2, and 27 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 Josie Ammer of Somerville, MA, Hur Koser of Cambridge, MA, and Mingxi Fan of Seattle, WA.

The David Adler Memorial Thesis Prize for outstanding performance on an Undergraduate Thesis in Electrical Engineering was presented to Dedric A. Carter of Cambridge, MA and Keith G. Fife, also of Cambridge, MA.

The Charles and Jennifer Johnson Thesis Prize for outstanding performance on Master of Engineering thesis in computer science was awarded to Derek L. Bruening of Cambridge, MA.

The Morris Joseph Levin Awards for Best MasterWorks Oral Theses Presentations were awarded to Afsana N. Akhter, of Cambridge, MA, Dedric A. Carter of Cambridge, MA, Andrew G. Chiu of Wappingers Falls, NY, Janet Marques of Dorchester, MA, Nicholas E. Matsakis of Cambridge, MA, Abraham R. McAllister of Cambridge, MA, Eve M. Phillips of Moraga, CA, and Andrew Twyman of Somerville, MA.

The William A. Martin Memorial Thesis Prize for outstanding performance on a Master of Engineering thesis in computer science was presented to Nicholas E. Matsakis of Cambridge, MA.

The George C. Newton Prize for the best undergraduate laboratory project was awarded to Elardio C. Arvelo of Miami, FL, Yuka N. Miyake of La Canada, CA, and Arturo Rodriguez Ramirez of Caracas, Venezuela.

The Robert A. Fano UROP Award was given to Lane G. Brooks of Cambridge, MA, Christopher D. Salthouse of Cambridge, MA, Amy Strickert of Cambridge, MA, Gaurav Tewari of New Delhi, India, and Allison L. Waingold of York, PA.

The Northern Telecom/BNR Project Awards were made to Max Rozenoer of Brighton, MA, Alex Sherenberg of Cambridge, MA, David N. Chen of Silver Spring, MD, Stanley S. Hong of Cambridge, MA, and Belle E. Wang of Cambridge, MA.

The David A. Chanen Writing Award was given to Bradley T. Block of Dublin, OH.


In September, 1998, there were 780 graduate students enrolled in the department. About 25 percent of the total were foreign nationals. The department supported 418 Research Assistants and 113 Teaching Assistants. In addition, there were 166 fellowships including 51 National Sciencea Foundation Fellows, and 15 Department of Defense Fellows. The remaining students had industrial or foreign support or were using their own funds.

During 1998, the department awarded 93 Master of Science degrees, 5 Electrical Engineer degrees and 61 Doctoral degrees.

The department received 1935 applications for the 1998—99 year, a slight increase from 1997. The applications continue to be generally excellent and 256 were admitted for 1998 (February, June and September), of whom 121 registered in September.

A number of awards were made to graduate students for excellence in teaching. Patrick Maurer of Reading, MA, received the Carlton E. Tucker Award and Christoforos N. Hadjicostis of Somerville, MA, received the Harold L. Hazen Award. The Frederick C. Hennie III Awards for excellence in teaching were presented to Andrew S. Huang of Brookline, MA, Michael Wessler of Somerville, MA, Janet L. Slifka of Somerville, MA, and Chalee Asavathiratham of Cambrdige, MA. The George M. Sprowls Awards for outstanding research contributions in the field of electronic computer and investigation research were presented to Benjamin Van Roy recently appointed to the faculty at Stanford University in Stanford, CA, and John Kubiatowicz also recently appointed to the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, CA.


The Department's VI-A Internship Program is in its 82nd year and continues to see competition from the on-campus M.Eng. program as evidenced by a continued decrease in the number of applications. This year 109 students applied during the annual Orientation and Selection process and 67 were selected as members of the incoming VI-A class. In comparison, in 1998 120 students applied and 58 were selected while in prior years typically about 160 students applied and about 80 were selected. Although approximately 22 students have withdrawn from the VI-A program because they felt the on-campus opportunities better matched their needs, most VI-A students find this program professionally rewarding and a source of great satisfaction as indicated by their mid-term and final reports. Every effort is made to ensure that VI-A companies continue to offer challenging assignments to VI-A students enabling them to gain valuable industrial experience.

One new company joined VI-A this year–Philips Research in Briarcliff Manor, NY. Five participating companies–GTE Internetworking, Hughes Network Systems, Xerox Corp., PairGain Technologies, Inc, and SatCon Technology Corporation–have dropped out of the VI-A Program and did not take new students this year, but will continue with those students selected in previous years. A number of new companies have indicated an interest in joining VI-A, so we will be able to replace companies that drop out and keep the program size constant if we choose to. However, with the decrease in enrollment, the number of participating companies may need to be limited.

In June, 40 VI-A students received the M.Eng. degree having completed all their company assignments and Institute degree requirements. There were 36 VI-A students who were awarded their bachelor's degree and most of them will continue into the graduate phase of the program.

At a reception honoring the first group of MIT Arts Scholars in September was Sean Sutherland (COMSAT Labs.). This program was developed to encourage greater interaction among MIT undergraduates who are active in the arts and to foster a sense of community among them. Mr. Sutherland was also one of the recipients of the Ragnar and Margaret Naess Award in recognition of exceptional talent and commitment to private performance study.

VI-A student Gaurav Tewari (IBM Corp.) was one of the winners in the Concourse program's annual Perpetual Motion Contest in May. He was also among the 27 Burchard Scholars for 1999. These students were selected based on demonstrated interest and excellence in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Gaurav also received the Robert A. Fano UROP Award.

At the 1999 MIT Awards Convocation May K. Tse (Silicon Graphics) received the Laya W. Wiesner Award which is presented to an undergraduate woman who has most enhanced MIT community life. VI-A Director Markus Zahn was the recipient of the Frank E. Perkins Award which is given each year to a professor who has served as an excellent advisor and mentor for graduate students. Prof. Zahn was also the J.B. Whitehead Memorial Lecturer of the October 1998 Conference on Electric Insulation and Dielectric Phenomena with the paper entitled, "Optical, Electrical, and Electromechanical Measurement Methodologies of Field, Charge, and Polarization in Dielectrics."

At the annual Department Awards Reception held at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the following VI-A students were honored: David N. Chen (SatCon Technology Corp.) received a Northern Telecom/BNR Project Award; Janet Marques (Compaq Computer Corp.) received a Morris Joseph Levin Award for a Best MasterWorks Oral Thesis Presentation; Eladio C. Arvelo (QUALCOMM Inc.) received a George C. Newton Undergraduate Laboratory Prize; Keith G. Fife (Motorola) won Second Prize in the David Adler Memorial Thesis presentation; Mingxi Fan (Hughes) was one of the Second Prize winners of the Ernst A. Guillemin Thesis Awards; and Lane G. Brooks (The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory), Amy Strickert (Sanders) and Gaurav Tawari (IBM Corp.) received a Robert A. Fano UROP Award.

Academic awards continue to be received by many VI-A students. Eta Kappa Nu, the Electrical Engineering National Honor Society, initiated 68 new members of whom 18 were VI-A's and of the 78 students from the School of Engineering elected to Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honorary, 14 were VI-A's. Many of the best Course VI students are in the VI-A Program.


Five new faculty members joined the department this year:

Associate Professors Srinivas Devadas and Leslie A. Kolodziejski were promoted to Professor. Assistant Professors Amos Lapidoth, Alexandre Megretski, and Paul A. Viola were promoted to Associate Professor.

We note with pride that Institute Professor Thomas L. Magnanti was named Dean of the School of Engineering.

Faculty Awards and Honors:

Professor Jesus del Alamo was elected a Member of the Spanish Academy of Engineering.

Professor Arvind received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the IIT in Kanpur.

Professor Michael Athans received the Oldenburger Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Professor Arthur Baggeroer received the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations Chair for Ocean Science.

Assistant Professor Hari Balakrishnan received the 1998 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award.

Professor Vincent Chan was named the Irwin & Joan Jacobs Professor of Electrical Engineering and was appointed Co-Director of the Labortory for Information and Decision Systems.

Professor Fernando Corbató received the 1998 Computers and Communications Award from the Foundation for C&C Promotion in Japan.

Professor Mildred Dresselhaus was awarded Honorary Degrees from The Sorbonne, University of Paris and from Columbia University.

Professor Peter Elias received the IT Golden Jubilee Award for Technical Innovation for invention of convolutional codes.

Associate Professor Dennis Freeman received the Ruth and Joel Spira Teaching Award.

Professor James Fujimoto received the 1999 Discover Magazine Award for Technological Innovation.

Professor Robert Gallagher was elected Fellow of American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He also received the 1999 Harvey Prize in Science and Technology 1999 from The Technion in Israel and the IT Golden Jubilee Paper Award

Professor Martha Gray was elected Fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Professor Paul Gray received the IEEE Course VI Outstanding Advisor Award.

Professor Alan Grodzinsky received the Class of 1960 Innovation in Education Award.

Associate Professor Daniel Jackson was elected Member of IFIP Working Group 2.3 on Programming Methodology.

Professor John Kassakian received the Distinguished Service Award from the IEEE Power Electronics Society.

Associate Professor Stephen Leeb received the 1999 Outstanding Young Power Electronics Engineer from the IEEE Power Electronics Society.

Professor Charles Leiserson received the IEEE Distinguished Visitor Award for the Asia-Pacific Region.

Professor Barbara Liskov was elected to York University Wall of Fame, Canada. She also received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of California in Berkeley.

Associate Professor Alexandre Megretski was named Esther & Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Professor of Electrical Engineering.

Professor Sanjoy Mitter received the IEEE Control Systems Award 2000.

Professor Paul Penfield, Jr., received the International Engineering Consortium Fellow Award.

Professor Jeffrey H. Shapiro was named the J. A. Stratton Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics.

Professor Henry Smith received the Humbolt Research Award from the Alexander von Humbolt Foundation.

Professor David Staelin received the 1998 Symposium Prize Paper Award from the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society.

Professor Kenneth Stevens was elected Member of National Academy of Sciences.

Madhu Sudan received the 1999 NSF Career Award.

Professor John Tsitsiklis was elected a Fellow of the IEEE.

Greg Wornell MIT Graduate Student Council Teaching Award 1998.

Professor Markus Zahn received the 1999 Frank E. Perkins Award for Outstanding Advising of Graduate Students and was named J.B. Whitehead Memorial Lecturer at the 1998 Conference on Electrical Insulation and Dielectric Phenomena.

The following faculty were on sabbatical for all or part of the year: Professor Louis D. Braida, Professor Shafrira Goldwasser, Professor James L. Kirtley, Jr., Professor Joel Moses, Professor Terry P. Orlando, Professor James K. Roberge, Professor Martin F. Schlecht, Professor Henry I. Smith, Professor Stephen A. Ward, Associate Professor Leslie A. Kolodziejski, Associate Professor Lynn A. Stein

The department hosted five visiting faculty:

Assistant Professor Franz X. Kaertner, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, hosted by Professor Erich P. Ippen.

Assistant Professor Lisa G. McIlrath, from Northeastern University, hosted by Professor William E.L. Grimson

Professor Johan E. Mooij, from Delft University, hosted by Professor Terry P. Orlando.

Professor Joseph E. Stoy, from Oxford University, hosted by Professor Michael L. Dertouzos.

Professor R. Michael Tanner, from the University of California, Santa Cruz, hosted by Professor Robert G. Gallager.

Professor Richard D. Thornton retired from the faculty this year.

More information about this department can be found on the World Wide Web at

John V. Guttag

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99