Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

This year started with a change of leadership. In August 2002, Professor Patrick Jaillet joined MIT and took over as department head. Professor Chiang C. Mei served as interim department head from July 2001 to July 2002, after Professor Rafael L. Bras stepped down in June 2001 following nine years as department head. Both have returned to classroom teaching and research. Professor Bras has also been elected MIT chair of the Faculty and will serve in this function for the next two academic years (2003–2004 and 2004–2005).

On the faculty promotion front, we are very pleased to announce that, effective July 1, 2003: Professor Elfatih Eltahir was promoted from associate professor with tenure to full professor; Associate Professor Franz Ulm was granted tenure; and Assistant Professor Charles Harvey was promoted to associate professor without tenure.

Beyond the normal teaching and research activities associated with an academic unit, the academic year 2002–2003 has been an intense year for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). Perhaps the most important development has been the department's engagement in a systematic and vigorous strategic planning process, as detailed below. Another major operation was the temporary move of all occupants and laboratories of the Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory (Building 48) in order to accommodate the construction effort taking place at the corner of Main and Vassar Streets near Kendall Square. Most of the administrative, faculty, and student offices have moved to the second floor of NE20 (the Coop Building), while labs have been split between NW14 and E19. While empty, Building 48 will undergo a number of changes and improvements, including asbestos abatement, safety systems improvements, and an extension of the second-floor space.

Several key milestones have marked our strategic planning process. In November 2002 the department had its visiting committee meeting. In addition to reporting on the state of the department, the meeting provided a unique opportunity for sharing and discussing our vision of the future of civil and environmental engineering at MIT and beyond. It also was an opportunity to discuss fundamental questions about implementation issues in order to achieve this vision. By all accounts, the meeting was a success. The committee recognizes that "a significant challenge—in fact, opportunity—now presents itself: to rethink the disciplines that are at the core of the Department, to redefine the Department's strategic thrusts, and to reconsider the Department's relationship to other parts of the Institute." The fall was also dedicated to a systematic evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the department, with specific attention to the positioning of the department within MIT and within other civil and environmental engineering programs in the world. This visiting committee report, together with the fall evaluation, provided the background for further development of the strategic planning process in spring 2003. This intense but relatively brief part of the process both opened and closed with a retreat and included many one-hour focus sessions. Following the latest retreat, a strategic document with a comprehensive five-year implementation plan is being finalized during the summer of 2003. The core of our plan is based on the following context and vision.

Civilizations have always relied on engineers to modify the environment in support of their activities. Nature provides the resources we need to survive, but it has also been viewed as a hostile force to be tamed. We have changed the landscape, the biosphere, and the climate in ways that suit our purposes but also threaten our continued prosperity. We are entering a new era, which offers an unprecedented opportunity to integrate human activities with nature. This opportunity is a result of major advances in scientific understanding and in technology. It is driven by dramatic developments in the life sciences, including molecular biology and genomics, in information and sensing technology, and in materials science and technology. Recent technological advances are helping us understand how the environment works and are providing more sustainable ways to improve the quality of life. In the next century, engineers will learn how to work with the environment, using innovative technologies to make best use of natural capital. This will affect our approaches to energy production, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, construction, land use, and resource consumption.

The new opportunities provided by the convergence of advanced technology and environmental awareness have major implications for engineering research and teaching. In particular, it is becoming apparent that human infrastructure and the natural environment must be viewed in a synergistic way. Provision of human services is the classical mission of the field of civil and environmental engineering. Provision of these services in a sustainable way is a natural extension of this mission, made possible by technological innovation, advances in basic knowledge, and a systems perspective.

MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is in a unique position to lead such a transition. MIT's capabilities in the life sciences, advanced materials and manufacturing, and information technology, combined with a well-established systems approach to large problems, offer students and Faculty wonderful opportunities. Clearly, these opportunities are inherently multidisciplinary. They require professionals who can communicate with the engineers who manufacture products, with the scientists who generate new knowledge, with the officials who regulate public goods, and with the consumers who generate demands. It requires an ability to see the big picture while focusing on the distinctive aspects of particular problems. The specific focused activities of the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering will be based on the development and application of advanced technologies and scientific knowledge for serving human needs in a sustainable way.

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Earth Systems Initiative and Terrascope

This academic year has been a growth year for the recently formed Earth Systems Initiative (ESI), a joint program between Faculty in CEE and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) led by Professor Penny Chisholm (CEE) and Professor Kip Hodge (EAPS). The Lawrence and Dana Linden Family Foundation donated funds for the creation of the Linden Family Earth System Graduate Fellowships. These fellowships provide support for new graduate students who plan to pursue studies in multidisciplinary environmental science and engineering. The Linden Fellows for the coming year are Sarah Pacocha (MIT/WHOI Joint Program), Eliza Peterson (CEE), Jonathan Winter (CEE), and Daniel Enderton (EAPS). The ESI Seminar Series, aimed at bringing together Faculty with interests in Earth system research and education, started in the spring with the seminars of Professor Ed Boyle (EAPS), From Lead in Corals to Corals from Space, and Professor Henrik Schmidt (Ocean Engineering), Ocean Exploration with Networks of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. Looking forward, an ESI Faculty retreat is scheduled on November 11, 2003, and an ESI "Kick Off" symposium is planned for March 7–9, 2004.

With the financial support of MIT, and as an integral part of ESI, a new educational program—Terrascope—has been launched for freshmen. Terrascope uses the Earth system as a theme for exploring interactions among physical, chemical, and biological processes. There were 35 students in the Terrascope Freshman Program this past year, and the year ended with a group of very enthusiastic presophomores. There are currently 30 prefreshmen registered for Terrascope in fall 2003, and we will be recruiting more as the semester approaches.

Discover Civil and Environmental Engineering Preorientation Program

During the week of August 19, 32 members of MIT's Class of 2006 participated in the first-ever Course 1 freshmen preorientation program, Discover Civil and Environmental Engineering (DCEE). The program combined a design project, field trips, campus lab tours, and discussions with faculty members to introduce freshmen to civil and environmental engineering, as well as to our CEE Department. Thanks to funding from the D'Arbeloff Foundation, DCEE was organized, planned, and executed by a group of Course 1 students led by coordinator Linda Liang '03. More information is available at

"Soil and Rock America 2003"

Three geotechnical faculty members—Professors P. Culligan and H. Einstein as cochairs and Professor A. Whittle as chair of the Technical Committee—organized and ran the conference "Soil and Rock America 2003" (June 22–26, 2003). This conference, which was simultaneously the 12th Panamerican Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, the 39th US Rock Mechanics Symposium, and the annual GeoInstitute Conference, was attended by over 600 participants from the entire world. The primary goal of the conference was technical and international integration, bringing together soil and rock specialists, theoreticians and practitioners, designers, and contractors from 41 countries. Four hundred papers were presented, either orally in plenary and breakout sessions or as posters. In addition, there were three special lectures: the Casagrande Lecture, "Recommended Practice for Soft Ground Site Characterization," by C. C. Ladd and D. de Groot; the Peck Lecture, "World Trade Center Bathtub," by G. Tamaro; and the Terzaghi Lecture, "Geotechnical Engineering Reliability: How Well Do We Know What We Are Doing?" by J. T. Christian. These lectures and a debate on the question, "Are contractors the only true innovators in geotechnical engineering practice?" were amongst the highlights of the conference, which, based on the reaction of the participants, was a huge success and may set a new direction for conferences.

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Educational Activities

Student Enrollments in the Past Five Years

  AY1999 AY2000 AY2001 AY2002 AY2003
  (Fall 1998) (Fall 1999) (Fall 2000) (Fall 2001) (Fall 2002)
Total Undergraduates 82 76 69 62 77
MEng 44 47 66 38 61
SM 152 164 152 165 160
PhD 52 68 71 71 68
Total Graduates 248 279 289 274 289

Undergraduate Program

Course 1 currently offers two choices for a Bachelor of Science degree candidate: 1C Civil Engineering and 1E Environmental Engineering Science. The total enrollment in the undergraduate program had decreased over the past several years, following similar national and international enrollment trends in civil and environmental engineering. Academic year 2002–2003 saw an increase in our enrollment, with a total of 77 undergraduates, including 26 sophomores. This encouraging trend is partially due to the relentless effort and leadership of highly dedicated Faculty such as Herbert Einstein, who has chaired the undergraduate committee over several years and has been instrumental in the introduction of the design sequence in 1C.

The vitality of our undergraduate program continues to benefit from a dedicated internship program, study tours in foreign countries during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), participation in the Cambridge-MIT Institute Student Exchange program, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program opportunities. This year, 15 undergraduate students took part in the IAP Trip to Hawaii (TREX IV) organized by Ms. Sheila Frankel, research associate and lecturer in CEE, and sponsored by a grant from Northeast Educational Services, Inc.

Our recent strategic planning process calls for a very strong continued presence in undergraduate education. Consistent with the vision for the future of the department, an aggressive five-year plan is now being put in place in order to design and deliver an undergraduate program offering a single degree, with tracks that permit some specialization. The details of this "renaissance engineer" curriculum will be developed over the next few years, with the most intensive effort taking place in 2003–2004.

Graduate Program

The department has three graduate degree programs: the Master of Engineering in Civil and Environmental Engineering (MEng), the Master of Science (SM), and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The total enrollment for the three programs in fall 2002 was 289 students. This is relatively healthy, despite some difficulties associated with research funding in certain subdisciplines.

Master of Engineering Program

Now in its eighth year, the MEng is a nine-month program and includes four specialization tracks: environmental engineering, high performance structures, geotechnical engineering, and information technology. These tracks operate in parallel with the traditional SM programs in each of these constituent areas, but they have largely replaced the SM as a terminal degree in these areas (i.e., the majority of SM students now continue for a PhD). The enrollment in the program has risen from 38 to 61, though the 2003–2004 enrollment will be closer to the 2001–2002 number. As part of a scheduled review of all MIT MEng programs, the department is currently finalizing a systematic review of the program, providing an assessment of its initial goals, current status, and operation, as well as recommendations for its future development.

Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy Programs

Enrollment in the Master of Science program has remained fairly steady. The numbers in the chart above include students interested in a doctoral degree but who haven't yet taken the doctoral general exam. In some SM programs, however, such as the Master of Science in Transportation (MST) and the SM program in Construction Management (CM), a large percentage of graduating students are taking jobs in industry and government; thus they can be seen as professional master programs, operating parallel to but quite distinct from the MEng program.

Enrollment in the PhD program has been steady over the last five years. On the whole, 96 percent of the doctoral students are supported with research assistantships, fellowships, teaching assistantships, and external support in the form of scholarships. The percentages of doctoral students placed in academia, research labs, and industry vary greatly depending on subdisciplines.

Looking forward, as part of the recent strategic plan, the graduate program will carefully evaluate the further development and viability of all our "Professional" master programs. (Of utmost importance for the sustainability of these programs is the very active participation of departmental faculty.) The plan also calls for the doctoral graduate program to be the main research degree program in the department, with a particular focus on educating intellectual leaders for academia and national or international research laboratories.

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Faculty Notes

Professor Cynthia Barnhart received second prize for the Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences in May 2003.

Mizuki Kawabata, a PhD thesis advisee of Professor Ben Akiva, received the 2002 Outstanding PhD Dissertation Award from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

In December 2002, NASA presented its Public Service Medal to Professor Rafael Bras "for his outstanding work shaping the future of earth science from space as Chair of NASA's Earth System Science and Applications Advisory Committee."

Professor Penny Chisholm joined the very exclusive membership of the National Academy of Sciences in April 2003. Earlier in the academic year, she was named to the Lee and Geraldine Martin professorship. The chair, established by the Martin Foundation, supports research and education activities related to studies of the environment.

Introduction to Structural Motion Control, written by Professor Jerry Connor, was published this year as one of the first three books in the MIT CEE/Prentice Hall series on Civil, Environmental, and Systems Engineering.

The Judge Institute of Management (the business school of Cambridge University) has appointed Professor Richard de Neufville as a senior research associate in recognition of many collaborations in developing the Cambridge University version of the Technology Policy Program. Professor Richard de Neufville and Professor Amedeo Odoni have recently published a new book on the planning, design, and management of airport systems. Released by McGraw-Hill Professional, the 900-page textbook is considered likely to become a standard reference in the field.

The American Meteorological Society elected Professor Peter Eagleson as an honorary member during their 2003 awards ceremony. This is the Society's highest honor. Professor Eagleson's book, Ecohydrology: Darwinian Expression of Vegetation Form and Function, was published this year by Cambridge University Press.

Professor Dara Entekhabi was elected as a fellow to the American Meteorological Society during their 2003 awards ceremony.

Professor Phil Gschwend was appointed the new chair of the Joint Committee for Chemical Oceanography of the MIT/WHOI Joint Program. The second edition of his textbook, Environmental Organic Chemistry, was published by Wiley-Interscience.

As a much-honored 1943 graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Professor Donald Harleman has been further commemorated by that university's CEE Department, which established the annual D. R. F. Harleman Honorary Lecture in Environmental Fluid Mechanics.

Professor Charles Harvey was named to the Henry L. and Grace Doherty professorship in ocean utilization. This two-year award helps fund marine-related research to advance innovative uses of the ocean's resources in any way, such as social, political, environmental, economic, or technical.

Professor Herbert H. Einstein, along with Professor Patricia Culligan (cochair) and Professor Andrew Whittle (chair), organized and ran the "Soil and Rock America 2003" conference, described above, on the MIT campus in June.

The second edition of Chemical Fate and Transport in the Environment,by Professor Harry Hemond and Elizabeth J. Fechner-Levy '91 (SM), was published this year by Academic Press.

Professor Patrick Jaillet gave the second annual Charles L. Miller Lecture with a talk entitled, "A CEE Department for MIT for the 21st Century."

"Preliminary Thermography Studies for Quality Control of Concrete Structures Strengthened with FRP Composites," jointly authored by Professor Eduardo Kausel and PhD student Monica Starnes, was awarded a Best Paper Prize by the American Concrete Institute.

Professor Steven R. Lerman served as deputy director of the Singapore–MIT Alliance. In addition to supervising the technology support for this initiative, he secured the future of the project along with fellow team members Tony Patera and Dean Tom Magnanti.

At the September 2002 departmental awards dinner, Professor Ole S. Madsen was presented the Effective Teaching Award for his Course 1.060 Fluid Mechanics.

Only 0.1 percent of members of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) are nominated as fellows. Professor Dennis McLaughlin achieved this distinction at the AGU fall 2002 conference in San Francisco this past December. He is currently the H. M. King Bhumibol professor of water resource management.

Defending the proposed Venice floodgates, Professor Chiang C. Mei appeared on the NovaTV science program, "Sinking City of Venice."

Future Cities: Dynamics and Sustainability (Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002), edited by Professor Fred Moavenzadeh, Professor Keisuke Hanaki (University of Tokyo), and Professor Peter Baccini (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) is the first volume in the Alliance for Global Sustainability book series entitled "Science and Technology: Tools for Sustainable Development."

The Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Professor Heidi Nepf at the 2003 MIT Awards Convocation on May 13. This award recognizes a Faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to undergraduate education.

Introduction to Construction Dispute Resolution, by Professor Feniosky Peña-Mora, Carlos Sosa '99 (SM), and D. Sean McCone '02 (SM), was published as part of the MIT CEE/ Prentice Hall Series on Civil, Environmental, and Systems Engineering.

Professor Yossi Sheffi was recognized with the Best Paper Award from the International Journal of Logistics Management and Accenture, Inc., for "Supply Chain Management under the Threat of International Terrorism," which appeared in vol. 12, no. 1, 2002.

The second edition of Professor David Simchi-Levi's book, Designing and Managing the Supply Chain, was published in October 2002. The book is widely regarded as the definitive supply chain textbook and has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Professor Joe Sussman gave the keynote speech, "Transitions in the World of Transportation," on November 12, 2002, at the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies' 15th anniversary celebration and luncheon.

Professor Franz-Josef Ulm was selected the 2002 Robert L'Hermite Medallist and gave the award lecture entitled "Chemomechanics of Concrete at Finer Scale" for the occasion. Professor Ulm and Professor Olivier Coussy, Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussés (France) completed Mechanics and Durability of Solids, Vol. 1: Solid Mechanics. The book was the third published in the MIT CEE/Prentice Hall series on Civil, Environmental, and Systems Engineering.

Professor Andrew Whittle won the 2002 ASCE Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award for best paper in geotechnical engineering, as well as the 2002 BSCE Ernest E. Herzog Award for an infrastructure group paper.

Professor John R. Williams gave the keynote lecture, "Generalized Spatial Binning of Bodies of Different Sizes," at the Third International Conference on Discrete Element Methods at the Sandia National Laboratories in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in late September.

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Student Notes

Civil and Environmental Engineering students were honored this past year with awards, fellowships, and recognition at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Some of the highlights of these accomplishments are included here.

Arthur Fitzmaurice received a William I. Stewart Jr. Award at the 2003 MIT Awards Convocation in recognition of his outstanding contributions to cocurricular activities and events.

Katherine Lin '05 was one of 29 sophomores and juniors selected as Burchard Scholars in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (SHASS) for 2003. The awards are given to students who demonstrate unusual abilities and academic excellence in the areas embraced by SHASS.

Sal Scaturro '04 has been selected as one of the 17 ambassadors for the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) for 2002–2003. The program honors students who have participated in one of MISTI's six internship programs and who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution and commitment to international learning at MIT.

Janelle Thompson (G) received one of four Switzer Foundation Awards given to outstanding students at Massachusetts universities. In addition, she was awarded the MIT Whittaker Health Sciences Fellowship.

Chi Epsilon, the national civil engineering fraternity, welcomed its new inductees in April. The new members from CEE were Arthur Fitzmaurice '03, Andrew Frazer '03, Jedidiah Horne '04, Shahana Jamil '03, Jad Karam '04, Elizabeth Wayman '04, and Marissa Yates '03.

Forest Flager, an MEng '03 student, won the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Foundation's 2003 Structural Engineering Traveling Fellowship. This major award was designed to allow students to broaden their professional education, to instill in them a heightened sense of their responsibility as future practitioners to improve the quality of the built and natural environments, and to encourage them to appreciate the influence of place making, culture, and technology in the design of buildings and their settings.

Christina Keenan '03 and Linda Liang '03, both in environmental engineering, won prestigious National Science Foundation scholarships for three years of support in their future graduate work.

Alex Apotsos and Michael Fisher were winners of NSF graduate student fellowships.

Khandaker Ashfaque (G) and Peter Israelsson (G) were awarded membership to the Martin Family Society of Fellows for Sustainability. Emilio Silva (G) was awarded the Senturia Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Studies.

The University Transportation Center's Outstanding Student of the Year 2003 award went to Nathaniel Grier, a PhD student in transportation. He received a cash award plus airfare to the Transportation Research Board 2003 meeting, where he was honored at a special Department of Transportation ceremony held for all of the national awardees.

Krysztof Kolodziej (MEng '03) won the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association Horwood Critique Prize in October 2002 for the best overall project/paper for the Boston Industrial Mapping Project. Along with fellow students Russell Spieler, Chin-Huei Tsou, Neeraj Agarwal, Eric Lau, and Kevin Richards and ENVIT student group officers Richard Camilli and Enrique Vivoni, Kolodziej also received the Horwood Critique Student Prize for best student project/paper for the Real-Time Field Data Streaming project. These prizes are given annually for papers/projects that represent the best critical analysis of an urban or regional information system design, implementation, or application or technology, policy, or issue.

"Implementing the Peer Review Evaluation Process with Web Services and Tablet PC," by Hai Ning (doctoral candidate working with Professor John Williams), won an award for the outstanding technical paper at the ELearnInternational 2003 in Edinburgh, Scotland, in February. The paper details the work at the MIT I-Campus Project in using tablet PCs for improving project-based design courses.

Anand Rajagopal (G) received the Vinod Lal Memorial Honour (Presidential Award 2002–2003) from the senate at the Indian Institute of Technology–Bombay for exceptional academic performance during his undergraduate studies.

CEE graduate student Madhusudhan Nikku leads the MIT NMB team, which also has Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics graduate students Mirna Daouk and Julien Lamamy and undergraduates Arthur Mak and Kaia Dekker. The faculty advisor is Peter Young, Col., USAF (ret.), senior lecturer in Aeronautics and Astronautics.

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Departmental Awards

The department held its annual awards dinner on May 7, 2003. Many students and faculty were honored for their achievements and accomplishments over this past academic year.

The new Maseeh Annual Award for Excellence as a Teaching Assistant went to graduate student Paul Kassabian '03. He assisted with 1.561 Motion-Based Design, 1.571 Structural Analysis and Control, and 1.562 High Performance Structures MEng Project. The new Maseeh Excellence in Teaching Award went to Professor Gschwend for 1.83 Environmental Organic Chemistry.

Established in memory of Professors Ross Tucker and Walter Voss, the first two heads of what became the Department of Building Engineering and Construction (old Course 17), the Tucker-Voss award goes to a student who shows particular promise in building construction. The 2003 award went to Sandi Lin '03, a graduate student in the construction management program and former president of the MIT chapter of Chi Epsilon.

Colleen O'Shea '03 received the Steinberg Prize, given to an undergraduate student for academic achievement and demonstrable interest in construction management.

Todd Radford (G) received the Professor Jerome J. Connor Jr. Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Willa Ng '03 won the Leo and Mary Grossman Award in recognition of high scholastic standing and a strong interest in transportation.

Yukie Tanino '03 won the Richard Lee Russell Award for an outstanding or continuing undergraduate in CEE who plans to continue with graduate study.

Professor Jerry Connor and Jerry Fanucci presented awards for bridge design and freestyle in 1.595 High Performance Composite Structures. Elise Bon and Zack Kostura received the top prize for composite bridge design, while Charlotte Bouvier and Ashley Cecira placed second. As the designer of an ultrathin composite spike heel for fashionable women's shoes, Diane Floresca won the prize for the free topic and is also applying for a patent.

As one of this year's 15 winners of the School of Engineering's Infinite Mile Awards, administrative assistant Joan McCusker received a wealth of presents at the annual MIT–wide ceremony on April 30, 2003.

Patrick Jaillet
Department Head
Edmund K. Turner Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

More information about the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering can be found on the web at


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