Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
Professor Chiang C. Mei has been named acting head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He succeeds Professor Rafael Bras, who held the position since 1992 and is now on sabbatical.
According to Dean of Engineering Thomas L. Magnanti, the faculty committee advising him on a permanent head is continuing its deliberations.
Mei is the Donald and Martha Harleman Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research interests involve ocean wave hydrodynamics, including near-shore currents, transport and resuspension of sediments, and the formation of sand ripples and bars on beaches. He also studies the mechanics of stresses and deformation in the seabed induced by waves, and the removal of contaminants from soils.
Mei received a bachelor's degree from National Taiwan University in 1955, the M.S. from Stanford University (1958) and the Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (1963). Among his many honors, he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 3, 2001.