MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


The mission of the Department of Ocean Engineering is to educate and prepare students to assume leadership positions in industry, government and educational institutions, and to influence future directions of ocean engineering education and practice; and to develop and disseminate the knowledge and technology to foster and enable the wise and effective use, development, and preservation of the ocean, its natural resources and environment.

Academic Year 1998—99 continued to be an exciting year for the Department of Ocean Engineering. The Ocean Engineering Teaching Laboratory hosted the 1998 "Discover Ocean Engineering" Program, a four-day event specifically designed to introduce incoming freshmen to student life at the Institute. This event was extremely successful in the fact that it was enjoyed not only by the students but at the same time very well received by parents and the MIT Administration. Professor Henrik Schmidt served as Chief Scientist for a major joint research program conducted in the Mediterranean Sea titled "Generic Ocean Array Technology Sonar" (GOATS). It involved the use of multi-static active acoustics to detect and classify buried objects in the seabed. GOATS is a potential system concept for measurement of the 3-D multi-static acoustic fields that can provide the platforms for multi-static sonar concepts. A significant follow-on experiment is scheduled for September—October, 2000. This set of experiments focuses on shallow water technology and is sponsored by NATO. The Visiting Committee reviewed the Department in March, 1999. The faculty and staff presented the different aspects of our strategic plan for undergraduate and graduate education. The Visiting Committee endorsed our activities in both areas and encouraged the faculty to maintain its momentum and excellence in its education and research activities.


The philosophy of undergraduate education in Ocean Engineering is:

The specific required and elective subjects offered to support this philosophy have been extensively reviewed by the faculty at two retreats during this year. Senior management in the industries that hire our graduates were visited to evaluate the curriculum. These industries include the traditional shipbuilding and oil companies as well as other marine-related companies. The curriculum is sound, requiring only minimal adjustment to reflect evolving technology and future industry needs.

Undergraduate enrollment has never been very large, but the trend is in the right direction. From a low of seven in 1991 and 1992, the undergraduate enrollment reached 19 as of October 1998. There are only a very few universities that offer educational programs in Ocean Engineering (and Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering). Even fewer offer doctoral programs. Maintaining a sufficient level to technically lead design initiatives into the next century is of some concern to the industry and more significantly to the Navy. It is the strong view of industry and government technical leaders that the ship designers for the future should be educated by leading researchers and educators in the field.

The department faculty continues to review this situation. There is a strong, unanimous consensus that despite the low enrollment, the undergraduate curriculum should be continued. It provides an intellectually stimulating connection to the undergraduate student body and an opportunity to teach at the undergraduate level. The faculty continues to be freshmen advisors and to offer freshman seminars. Over 30 percent of the faculty have done so during this year.

While we intend to continue our efforts to attract students to the field, the faculty continued to pursue opportunities to contribute beyond the department. Relationships with Chemical Engineering have been established to share responsibility for teaching numerical analysis and software engineering. Subjects 13.002 (10.002), jointly offered with Chemical Engineering and taught by OE faculty, and 10.001 (13.001), taught by Chemical Engineering faculty, were introduced this year. We intend to aggressively seek other similar sharing relationships.

The MIT Museum and the Hart Nautical Collections have combined to create a display in the Building 5 Hart Nautical Gallery to create awareness of the challenging and exciting activities in the oceans. The display was formally commissioned in conjunction with the department's visiting committee meeting in March, 1999. A number of department activities are displayed. The department's Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory, showing recent undergraduate design projects, is featured.

A new innovative program for incoming freshman, entitled Discover Ocean Engineering, was offered to the Class of 2002. This program introduced them to the Department of Ocean Engineering as well as to various aspects of MIT. The agenda included hands-on experience building a small remotely operated vehicle (ROV), testing it in the water, and a chance to perform some actual research experiments with an ROV in Boston Harbor. There are approximately 30 incoming freshmen of the Class of 2003 who will attend the summer experience of Discover Ocean Engineering this year.


Graduate education continues to be strong in the department. The current enrollment is 105. Our graduates are highly sought by industry. The graduate programs in the department offer a spectrum of research and educational opportunities that provide the specialization needed to become leaders in and shapers of the marine field in our global society. The education is highly specialized and requires a deep understanding of the technology involved.

Our graduate subjects complement the research performed in the department very well. The graduate programs are focused on three major areas: Naval Construction and Engineering; Engineering Science applied to problems in the ocean; and Ocean Systems, with emphasis on business and management

A significant element of the department's education program is the Naval Construction and Engineering Program. This long-standing program is nearing the 100th anniversary of initiation and is designed for students interested in a career as a professional naval engineer. Ships are one of the most complicated technical systems produced and continue to push the state of the art. In addition to concentrating on hydrodynamics, acoustics, structures, and design, the curriculum provides an appreciation for total ship engineering in a manner not covered by specialists in mechanical, electrical, structural, or nuclear engineering.

The next major element of our graduate education is the segment that specializes in engineering science applied to problems in the ocean. Our curriculum focuses on four areas: acoustics, hydrodynamics, structures and structural dynamics, and design and marine robotics.

The acoustics program prepares the next generation of oceanographic engineers. It is a major element of the joint program with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. It covers all aspects: theoretical, numerical and experimental with particular strengths in acoustical oceanography and signal processing.

Our hydrodynamics group has a rich tradition and history, having made and continuing to make some of the most significant contributions in the field. We offer a rich program in theory and computational hydrodynamics preparing our graduates for positions of leadership spearheading major innovations in the offshore industry.

The structures and structural acoustics curriculum exposes our students to all the fundamentals needed to prepare them for a successful career in marine structural mechanics. Our areas of excellence include plasticity, crashworthiness, structural response of complex structures, laser forming and cable dynamics.

Our last area of engineering science is design and marine robotics. The graduate curriculum in this area is dominated by the basic subjects for our naval construction program but a number of basic and advanced subjects in offshore design, control theory, computational geometry and underwater navigation are also offered.

The program in Ocean Systems Management is intended for students with solid engineering backgrounds who are interested in the business and government management aspects of ocean engineering systems and activities, including ocean transportation, marine resource development, environmental management, public policy and ocean use, ocean mining, ports, and fisheries. Students who pursue this curriculum have a solid background in engineering and are looking to broaden their ability to include knowledge of economics, business practices and management. Some of our alumni are among the best known ship owners and this area offers significant potential for growth.

For the past two years Professor Patrikalakis and Dr. Takashi Maekawa have been revising and updating the notes for 13.472 which is soon to become a textbook in the area of geometric modeling and will impact the educational activities of numerous academics around the world as well as eight MIT professors whose research is related to CAD and computer graphics.


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.

Professors Arthur Baggeroer and Henrik Schmidt continue working on a joint effort project for NSF and the New England Aquarium called "Sounds in the Sea" which will develop an exhibit highlighting the role of sound in the ocean portraying natural sounds such as whales, fish and volcanoes as well as man-made sounds. In addition, they continue with broadband active and passive matched field processing in shallow water which is a continuation of the work in which both Professors Schmidt and Baggeroer are acknowledged as two of the pioneers.

Professor Justin Kerwin is working closely with Professor Chang-Sup Lee, from Chungnam National University, Korea, developing a potentially powerful higher-order-B-spline based panel method for marine propellers

Professor Judith Kildow was awarded a Planning Grant by NOAA for the purpose of gathering experts and expertise to reach consensus on the methodologies to be used in the study of Economics of the Oceans. This is the first award from President Clinton's Oceans Initiatives.

Professor John Leonard is developing new data association methods that incorporate navigation error and new map representation strategies that reduce computational complexity. A novel hybrid estimation algorithm for concurrent mapping and localization (CML) has been developed that achieves improved decision making by simultaneously considering multiple hypotheses about the location of a vehicle and the disposition of features. By developing more powerful data association methods that incorporate navigation uncertainty, and bringing them to bear on this problem, a robust solution to the problem of CML for AUVs using sonar will be obtained.

Professor Nicholas Makris continues both his experimental and theoretical work in remotely sensing the marine environment with underwater sound. This includes determination of oceanographic properties of the water column, geophysical characteristics of the sea floor, and the localization, imaging and classification of submerged objects.

Professor Henry Marcus is working on "Improving the Movement of Marine Containers: The Role of Smart Identification Tags" which is sponsored by the New Industry Research Organization (NIRO) of Japan. Building on the knowledge gained from the NIRO project in identification technologies, Professor Marcus is working with CVX to try to improve materials management aboard a new aircraft carrier.

Professor Koichi Masubuchi, although officially retired, remains active in activities related to NIRO. Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), the designated lead company for NIRO, is interested in having MIT work with NIRO and Professor Masubuchi is involved in the operation of a project begun in 1997 at the MIT Sea Grant College Program and continued by a new contract from NIRO in July, 1998. In addition, a three-year project entitled "Advancement of Manufacturing Technologies Through Applications of Laser Measurement and Fabrication Techniques" was initiated in July, 1998, under the supervision of Professors Masubuchi, Nicholas Patrikalakis, and Dr. Takashi Maekawa.

Professor Jerome Milgram continued with his research on "Computational Reconstruction of Optical Fields from Holograms" where the emphasis is on computational modeling, code development and numerical testing. The first two technical utilizations will be for three-dimensional particle image velocimetry for complete measurement of flow fields, and for studying the interaction of marine microorganisms, largely plankton, with their fluid environment.

Much has changed in the Marine Computation and Simulation Laboratory in the past year making it available for another class of activities related to underwater acoustics. New equipment which was purchased from research projects of Professors Milgram, Leonard, and Schmidt in addition to a non-recurring equipment grant from the Dean's Office, is centered on a precision computer-controlled positioning system. This allows vehicle models or transducers to be moved over an arbitrary path in the tank. In addition, ultra high frequency transducers and measurement equipment has been acquired. This may be the largest ultrasonic modeling tank with a precision positioning system in existence providing great experimental capability.

Professor Nicholas Patrikalakis is currently involved in coastal zone management issues besides contributing to the solution of outstanding design and manufacturing problems and educating future leaders in the area of non-linear computational geometry and CAD/CAM. In his project, "Model for Ship Transit Risk," his goal has been to develop a statistical model for evaluating the relative risk of ship transit through the nation's ports and waterways. In his "Poseidon: A Coastal Zone Management System in the WWW," he deals with the creation of a distributed information system for coastal zone management using internet technologies.

Professor Henrik Schmidt's research in multi-static active acoustics has replaced the Arctic acoustics as the main ONR core funded research. It is hoped that by using this procedure, the detection and classification of buried objects in the ocean seabed will be more easily determined. Funding for this project covers the fundamental physics and modeling effort, and the analysis of the Generic Ocean Array Technology Sonar (GOATS) experiments. GOATS is a potential systems concept for measurement of the 3-D multi-static acoustic fields that can provide the platforms for multi-static sonar concepts. A proposal by Professor Schmidt and Dr. James Bellingham for a five-year official Joint Research Program (JRP) with SACLANT Undersea Research Centre in Italy towards the development of the GOATS concept for mine countermeasures, has been accepted, and the first joint experiment scheduled for May through June, 2000. This set of experiments focuses on shallow water technology and is sponsored by NATO.

Professors Baggeroer and Makris were selected for the positions of SECNAV/CNO Chair and Scholar, respectively, beginning in October 1998 for four years.

Along with Professor Baggeroer, Professor Schmidt is involved in the use of acoustics to monitor the long-term development of the ocean temperature to possibly reveal a trend towards global warming. This work is done in collaboration with researchers at Scripps and other institutions, and focuses on the Pacific Ocean.

Professor Schmidt is additionally involved in the development of new multi-disciplinary, multi-scale coastal observation and prediction systems known as Littoral Ocean Observations and Prediction Systems (LOOPS). As one of the PI's in the Harvard-led LOOPS NOPP (National Oceanographic Partnership Program), Professor Schmidt has been responsible for the acoustic sensing component. Along with Alan Robinson (Harvard) and Professor Patrikalakis (Co-PI), he has played a major role in laying out the overall concept and architecture for an entirely new generation of forecasting capability, with the Poseidon distributed computational framework providing the infrastructure for sensors, platforms and modeling resources.

Professor Paul Sclavounos has initiated a new research activity as part of the master's thesis of a student in the area of rational and accurate pricing of contingent claims by corporations. This remains an area of critical importance in light of the uncertainties and risks faced by the maritime and offshore industries.

Professor Michael Triantafyllou continued with his work on the development of biomimetic fish-like robots under the sponsorship of ONR and DARPA, in cooperation with Draper Laboratory, ISRobotics and Electric Boat. He is also remains involved with vortex induced vibrations of marine structures (cables and risers) sponsored by ONR and a consortium of oil companies.

Professor Kim Vandiver continues to remain active in the offshore industry in the area of flow-induced vibration of risers. He also continues as Director of the Edgerton Center.

Professor Tomasz Wierzbicki's "Ultra Light" project which involves strength, ductility, and fracture of welds with defects remained the focal point of his research this past year. His Tanker Safety project was completed with the final year being devoted to the development of the collision module of the program DAMAGE.

Professor Dick Yue continued on a number of long-term research efforts as well as in several new areas of coastal wave dynamics and three-dimensional wave coherence, both of which are relevant to coastal operations. His main research interests continue to be in the areas of theoretical and computational marine hydrodynamics and applied mechanics


Discover Ocean Engineering: A special Introduction to MIT was a four-day program for incoming freshmen to celebrate the International Year of the Ocean. This program was designed to provide a first glimpse of what engineering is all about and let the students sample some of the opportunities that the field of ocean engineering has to offer. It also gave them a jump on getting involved in campus life and hopefully to begin building close relationships between the students, our faculty and staff as well as current students. Although our program was originally geared for 24 students, the response was so overwhelming (146 applications) we decided to admit 30 students.

In the summer of 1998, Professor Henry Marcus was a part of the MIT/Marsoft team teaching a new seminar in Risk Management in Shipping Investment. This conference was very successful and will be taught again during the summer of 1999.

Professor Nicholas Patrikalakis, with the assistance of Dr. Takashi Maekawa, has considerably revised and updated the notes for 13.472J, "Computational Geometry," a joint program in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and new for next year, Aeronautics and Astronautics. These notes in a new, more comprehensive printed version form the basis of the new textbook, which is nearing completion. Funding for this project was provided from the Bernard M. Gordon Curriculum Development Fund through the Dean's Office and the Department.

By participating in the deliberations of the OE Undergraduate Program Committee with regard to the revisions of the curriculum, a C language class, 10.001 was adopted and 13.016 was split into a numerical analysis (13.001J) and a computational geometry and visualization class (13.002–to be taught in Spring 2000.)

A new, 6-unit undergraduate subject, 13.002J, "Introduction to Numerical Analysis for Engineers" will be taught jointly with Chemical Engineering, as a follow-up to 10.001. This new course is unique at the Institute in terms of providing introduction to numerical analysis and is expected to attract a significant number of students. This subject will be first offered in the Spring of 2000 and is also coordinated with the new CAD subject, 13.003.

Professor Triantafyllou is preparing a new term project for 13.49 to simulate the engine-propeller-hull system during maneuvering on ATHENA. In addition, he is preparing a laboratory to simulate maneuvering on model scale vehicles. The Testing Tank facility is undergoing renovation and expanding which will aid tremendously in both education and research. Three major labs for 13.42 are done here every spring while 13.021 has one major lab every fall. In addition, 13.017 and 13.018 both use the Tank for testing.

Professor Vandiver was a principal player in the Discover Ocean Engineering program held for new incoming freshmen last summer by providing much of the planning logistics, assistance and coordination for the program.


Professors Arthur B. Baggeroer and Nicholas C. Makris were selected for the positions of SECNAV/CNO Chair and Scholar, respectively, beginning October 1, 1998. Each award includes four years of support for one Research Chair and associated Scholar.

Dr. David Burke, Senior Lecturer, taught 13.122, "Ship Structural Analysis and Design." Along with Professor Chryssostomidis, he has begun evaluating the Navy's need for future basic research in the field of Ocean Engineering.

Professor Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis continued his involvement in the department's design lab activities. He sponsored and co-hosted an International Conference on the Application of Computers to Shipbuilding (ICCAS) at MIT in June. In addition to coordinating this activity, he gave the keynote paper titled "Design and Manufacturing in a Distributed Computing Environment." He began a study of the future requirements for maintaining the knowledge infrastructure for the US Navy ship design capability at the request of ONR. This effort will conclude in 2000.

Professors Justin E. Kerwin and Koichi Masubuchi, although retired, continued with 49 percent appointments and remain active in teaching, student supervision, and research.

Professor Kerwin won the Gibbs Brother Medal, a $5,000 prize awarded every two years from the National Academy of Sciences for outstanding contributions in the field of naval architecture and marine engineering.

Professor Judith T. Kildow retired effective June 30, 1999 and will move to the University of Southern California to continue her work at the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies.

Captain Raymond S. McCord, USN, replaced Captain Dennis Mahoney, USN, as Professor and Head of the Naval Construction and Engineering Program (13A) on June 1, 1999.

Professor Nicholas M. Patrikalakis was on a half-year sabbatical at the University of Crete, Department of Computer Science and FORTH/Institute of Computer Science in Heraklion to complete his textbook on geometric modeling as well as to continue his research in the area of coastal zone management systems in the World Wide Web.

Professor J. Kim Vandiver was on a half-year sabbatical at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway, focusing on research on dynamics of drilling and production riser systems. A consortium of twelve companies, including several in Europe, is supporting this research. He was appointed Dean of Undergraduate Research for the Fiscal Year 2000.

Professor Vandiver also received the MIT President's Award for Community Service. This award was in part in recognition of the contributions made by the Edgerton Center to local K—12 educational programs.

LCDR Clifford Whitcomb, USN, replaced LCDR Mark S. Welsh, USN, as Associate Professor of Naval Construction and Engineering on July 1, 1998.


Matthew Beeken received the Rosenblith Scholarship for FY99.

Joseph Curran received the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) Undergraduate award for FY99.

Rachel Levine received the Clare Booth Luce award for FY99.

Douglas Read was the recipient of the George N. Butzow Systems Corporation Graduate Fellowship, which provided him with tuition and stipend support for the academic year.

Alexandra Techet won the Link Foundation Ocean Engineering and Instrumentation Fellowship for the 1999—2000 academic year, which provides financial support towards stipend, publication costs, and expenses related to research.


The following individuals were awarded the Martin A. Abkowitz International Fellowship: Graduate student, Nicole Suoja for her participation in the 1999 International Geosciences and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) in Hamburg, Germany, in June, 1999, where she presented a paper which represents the primary contribution of her graduate thesis work to the field of remote wave studies; Dr. Takashi Maekawa for his attendance at a scientific conference on "Curves and Surfaces" in Saint-Malo, France, in July, 1999, where he has been invited to speak in a mini-symposium organized by Professor Pottmann of Technische Universitaet Wien, Austria.

The winner of the 1999 Rbert Bruce Wallace Prize, which is awarded to an outstanding undergraduate in the Department of Ocean Engineering, was Ms. Stacie Wu. Stacie was selected from a list of extremely-qualified candidates and will be provided a full academic year of tuition and stipend.

The Sixteenth Robert Bruce Wallace Lecture on "Port and Waterway Safety Management: Focus on Escort Tugs" was presented on May 3, 1999 by Lillian Borrone, Director of the Port Commerce Department of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. This lecture was part of a series of workshops on port and waterway safety issues. This new workshop program is intended to bring together representatives from the port, shipping, and ship-owning industry with regulatory agencies and academics to address important public policy questions.

It should be noted that Mr. A. H. Chatfield, a benefactor of the Wallace Lecture and Wallace Prize, passed away in June, 1999. Both he and his late wife, Marion, were instrumental in setting up the lectureship and prize in honor of Marion's father, Robert Bruce Wallace. They both strongly supported the programs and enjoyed celebrating with the students as often as possible at these events.

In October 1998, the fourth annual T. Francis Ogilvie Lecture on "Data Assimilation Subspaces and the Diagnosis of Ocean Variability," was presented by Dr. Pierre F. J. Lermusiaux. Dr. Lermusiaux is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University continuing theoretical and applied research in advanced data assimilation and diagnostic methodologies for the understanding of the four-dimensional and multiscale ocean variability.

On May 12—13, 1999, the annual MIT Naval Construction and Engineering Ship Design and Shipbuilding Technology Symposium, part of a series of symposia and workshops established in 1986, was hosted by the Department of Ocean Engineering at the MIT Faculty Club. This symposium is held to establish and maintain positive communication with industry, Navy Laboratories and Navy programs on research and education issues relevant to the Naval Construction and Engineering curriculum. The 13A graduate Students presented their master theses, and two design projects. The first design project is an intense one-month conversion of an existing Navy or Coast Guard ship. The second project is a one-year effort that produces an original Naval or Coast Guard preliminary design.

Panel discussions were also held on "21st Century Environmental Challenges and Technologies" moderated by Mr. Larry Koss head of the US Navy Ship and Air Systems Environmental branch and on "The Future of Electric Ships in the Navy" led by RADM Malcolm MacKinnon III, USN (ret).

Luncheon speeches included "MIT Center for Innovation in Product Development" by Dr. Conger Gabel (XEROX) and "The US Navy's 21st Century Destroyer" by RADM Joseph Carnevale, Program Executive Officer DD 21. Dr. Lee Buchanan, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research Development and Acquisition) gave the evening dinner address. Over 100 people from academia, industry and the government attended this annual event.

A new exhibit was opened this year at the Hart Nautical Gallery featuring the department entitled "Deep Frontiers: Ocean Engineering at MIT." A reception was held on March 18 and invited guests included the OE Visiting Committee, MIT Senior Administration, and the Mayor of Cambridge, Francis H. Duehay.

Our 19th annual reunion was held at the Westin, Horton Plaza in San Diego on November 12, 1998. Professor Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis served as the host at the reception, which was well attended by alumni, faculty, and guests.


The department will continue to recruit both undergraduate and graduate students to the department. Academic Services is planning a survey to examine the motivations for choice of major by our MIT undergraduates to understand better how to attract them to the field of ocean engineering. This will affect the information and communications we develop about the department and the field. Review with industry has confirmed that the need exists for qualified graduates with specialized knowledge about the ocean and the significant challenges that working in that environment offers.

Planning has begun for the Centennial celebration of the commencement of the XIII-A program at MIT. The Navy assigned a small, highly-selected group of officers to MIT after graduation from the Naval Academy for an intensive three-year program in Naval Construction and Engineering. This began a long history of the department providing the core engineering capability for the technical leadership of the US Navy that continues today. A major event will mark this anniversary.

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

Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99