MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


The goal of Ocean Engineering is to develop the knowledge and technology to foster and enable the wise and effective use, development, and preservation of the ocean, its natural resources and environment. Our mission is to educate students to meet this challenge and to provide them with the foundation for life-long learning and growth to become leaders in this exciting field.


Academic Year 1997-98 continued to be an exciting year for the Department of Ocean Engineering. Continuing with our efforts to strengthen our undergraduate program, we made extensive use of our new Ocean Engineering Teaching Laboratory during the summer of 1997. With marine robotics being the common theme of our student projects, I am pleased to report that three new marine robots have been developed. Autolycus is a new submarine robot designed as a teaching tool and as a platform for student research in autonomous underwater vehicles. During the Summer Workshop, a team of three UROP students completed the development of an autonomous boat designed to follow and log the position of a large fish, such as a shark, tagged with an acoustical transmitter. This work was the culmination of a multi-year student research project which originally began at MIT Sea Grant. Last summer the students developed the boat to the point where it can follow a boat towing an acoustic fish tag. Finally, during the fall semester of 1997, a UROP student proved that you don't have to be high-tech to build a marine robot. She built a small remotely-operated vehicle out of PVC pipe and small, inexpensive motors. This vehicle, called the Sea Perch, was the focus of an undergraduate seminar class (13S36) taught this past spring in which ten students were enrolled. In addition, we began initiating the prefreshman activity, "Discover Ocean Engineering," planned for August of 1998. Dr. Thomas Consi is a key player in these activities.

With the development of the new Teaching Laboratory complete, our focus is now on the creation of a student testing tank under the direction of Professor John Leonard. This is an essential part of our strategy to improve our facilities for undergraduate education and, indirectly, our enrollment. This new testing tank will provide hands-on experimental facilities for both undergraduate and graduate students with regard to education and research. This new tank will serve as an adjunct to our new and highly successful OE Teaching Laboratory directly across the hall, and will be used in conjunction with OE class projects and UROP projects. Although the tank will be useful for marine robotics research performed by Professors Leonard and Triantafyllou, the major focus is on easy undergraduate access to the tank where students can perform in-water tests of the instruments that they are building. In addition, the tank will allow professors to perform simple demonstrations of marine instruments (such as sonar sensors in operation), for their classes.

Professors Patrikalakis and Schmidt are part of a project involving twelve partners from academia, government laboratories and industry in the development of the scientific and technical conceptual basis of a generally applicable inter-disciplinary littoral ocean and observing system, the Littoral Ocean Observing and Predictive System (LOOPS). The partners bring to the program diverse and relevant expertise and experience in interdisciplinary ocean science: systems and ocean engineering; data assimilation and ocean prediction methodologies; and synthesis and collaboration, as well as a suite of existing robust and tested measurement and model components for integration into the overall system.


The Department's undergraduate curriculum remains focused on five areas:

During our departmental retreat in December 1997, the Department concluded that its undergraduate curriculum continues to provide a solid foundation in all the basics that make up the discipline of Ocean Engineering. Our most immediate need is to increase the number of our undergraduates. We determined that our first task was that prospective students be made aware of existing opportunities in the five major segments of the ocean industry: shipbuilding and design; shipping; offshore oil exploration and production; instrumentation; and acoustics. In addition, we needed to identify new industries that could employ our graduates. We also needed to establish better dialogue with Industry to find out their needs and anticipate their future demands as well as making sure Industry knows about our students. Finally, we need to evaluate how responsive our curricula are to the needs of prospective employers. Although some degree of specialization is desirable at the graduate level, we have to be careful of the degree of specialization we introduce in our curricula at the undergraduate level.

It appears our strategy to increase our undergraduate enrollment has begun to pay off as we have increased our enrollment for Fall 1998 by 11 new students, for a total of 21 undergraduates. This was accomplished by a tremendous effort on the part of our faculty and staff, by personal contacts, through the efforts of the Freshman Seminars, preparation of a new undergraduate brochure and an exciting Open House in April, 1998. Four of our faculty presented Freshman Seminars in the fall of 1997. We will continue to review our undergraduate program on an annual basis to ensure that it is up-to-date and to fine-tune it as necessary. Our curriculum, which has been in place since 1993, appears to be working well. Except for minor adjustments and the introduction of an experimental hydrodynamics subject, we do not expect any changes in the foreseeable future.

Our new Ocean Engineering Teaching Laboratory for undergraduates has successfully completed its first year. We have invested in equipment (approximately $45,000) and we have raised funds from one of our alumni (Hin Chew Chung) to provide additional support and maintenance. The staff member responsible for the laboratory is Dr. Thomas Consi.

We will continue to increase the UROP activities in the Department. This past year we had 54 UROPs; 14 for Summer 1997, 15 for Fall 1997, 3 during IAP, and 22 for Spring 1998. Out of a total of 54 students, 13 were from Course 13 and the Department funded seven of these students from its General funds. Except for six students who took UROPs for credit, the remainder of the students were covered by research accounts and/or funds from the UROP Office. We will continue to run summer workshops in the OE Teaching Laboratory in order to expose the Institute undergraduates to Ocean Engineering. Dr. Consi will continue to run this program under my supervision, and I have earmarked substantial funds from our budget to supplement other funds to support this effort. The UROP program is an integral part of the Teaching Laboratory.

In another effort to increase undergraduate enrollment in our Department, we are launching the pilot for the MIT Discover Ocean Engineering program being offered for the first time in the summer of 1998. It is our intent to have approximately 30 incoming students attend this summer experience which will introduce them to the Department of Ocean Engineering as well as various aspects of MIT. The planned agenda includes hands-on experience building a small remotely operated vehicle (ROV), testing the ROV, and a chance to perform some actual research experiments with an ROV in Boston Harbor (see our Web page


Professor Paul Sclavounos chaired a committee which arrived at the current graduate level curriculum in hydrodynamics. The product was the emergence of the new sequence of subjects which follow 13.021 as the entry level hydrodynamics subject for our graduates. The sequence also includes 13.022 which teaches students free surface wave effects, 13.023 which exposes students to viscous and boundary layer effects, 13.024 which introduces students to numerical marine hydrodynamics, and 13.04 which discusses lifting and propeller flows to be taught in alternate years. In addition, two subjects were introduced into our curriculum to strengthen our 13A Program. The first, 13.391J, involves marine fabrication technologies (a joint subject with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering) and the second, 13.811, involves structural dynamics and acoustics.

Professor Nicholas M. Patrikalakis, with the assistance of Dr. Takashi Maekawa, have considerably revised and updated the notes for subject 13.472. These notes will become the basis of a new textbook in the area of geometric modeling which is currently under development. This is being supported, in part, by funding from the Dean's Office as well as the Department and the Kawasaki Chair. This textbook will have an impact on the educational activities of eight MIT professors whose research is related to CAD and computer graphics and numerous other academics around the world.

The current status of our graduate curriculum development builds upon the previous curriculum, which placed MIT's Department of Ocean Engineering in the forefront of marine education. We continuously monitor our curriculum, and our faculty is committed to evaluating change and taking action where necessary. In addition to our new subjects which I mentioned earlier, a much more flexible graduate curriculum was developed and will be totally integrated into our program by September, 1998. We continue 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.


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

Professor Arthur Baggeroer participated in the development of an exhibit, with the assistance of the New England Aquarium and a grant from NSF, entitled "The Sounds of the Sea" which informs the public of the importance of acoustical phenomena in the ocean. In addition, Professor Baggeroer worked on the Arctic Climate Observations using Underwater Sound project which will provide data on the large thermohaline change now occurring in the Arctic Ocean.

Professor Justin Kerwin is working on the development of a next-generation design and analysis method for marine propulsors. ONR has made a multi-year commitment in spite of reductions in hydrodynamics research.

Professor Judith Kildow has completed her book Coastal Zone: Principles and Strategies for Management which is expected to be published in early 1999. The book demonstrates how natural variations and human activities and perspectives create coastal problems.

Professor John Leonard is working on concurrent mapping and localization which is funded by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) as part of a collaboration between the US Navy and the French Navy. A longer term goal is to develop techniques for concurrent mapping and localization using natural terrain features.

Professor Nicholas Makris has continued 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. He is also working on an ONR sponsored program of statistical acoustics and environmental inversion after stochastic propagation and scattering in shallow water.

Professor Henry Marcus is working on a new project "Improving the Movement of Marine Containers: The Role of Smart Identification Tags." This project is supported by New Industry Research Organization (NIRO), a non-profit group based in Kobe, Japan.

Professors Koichi Masubuchi and Nicholas Patrikalakis are also involved in a NIRO project entitled Advancement of Manufacturing Technologies Through Application of Laser Measurement Techniques and Fabrication. In addition, Professor Masubuchi continues with his ARPA funded project on Laser Forming for Flexible Fabrication.

Professor Jerome Milgram has just completed a four and a half year study of the dynamic behavior of natural sea surfactants as well as thirteen years of work in the area of dynamics and extreme tensions in open ocean towing. The programs developed have been implemented on computers in the office of the Supervisor of Diving and Salvage at NAVSEA and will form a basis for the next edition of the U.S. Navy Towing manual. In addition, Professor Milgram is cultivating a new area in computational reconstruction of optical fields from holograms. This research focuses on holograms used to record quantitative scientific and technical data.

Professors Milgram, Leonard, and Schmidt are currently working on ultrasonic experimental modeling of acoustic scattering and are in the process of creating an Ultrasonic Modeling Facility to assist in the study of ocean acoustics propagation issues with funding assistance from the Dean's Office.

In the area of Computational Geometry and CAD/CAM, Professor Nicholas Patrikalakis is involved in a major new NSF and ONR funded project entitled, Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF). The objective of this project is the development of a solid modeling method for SFF, providing support for functionally gradient materials, which is not possible in today's CAD systems. In the area of Coastal Zone Management, Professor Patrikalakis continued working on the Formulation of a Model for Ship Transit Risk. The goal of this project is to develop a statistical model for evaluating the relative risk of ship transit through the nation's ports and waterways. This model will allow federal agencies (NOAA, USCG, and USACE) to perform their tasks more efficiently and rationally, and will enable the agencies to evaluate new technologies as they become available.

Professor Nicholas Patrikalakis has received a grant entitled Poseidon: A Coastal Zone Management System Via the World Wide Web. The Poseidon system's goals are to make scientific inquiry easier, quicker, and more collaborative in nature by creating an oceanographic metadata (data about data) standard and a software system that uses that standard to create a frictionless simulation environment. With the advent of new sensors, storage technologies, and especially the Internet, the potential exists for a new era of ocean science investigation. The resulting system will ease the burden of finding and retrieving the right oceanographic information and will automate many of the burdensome tasks in initiating and executing an oceanographic simulation.

Professor Paul Sclavounos continues with his research in the development of advanced computational methods for the prediction of loads and motions of ships and offshore structures.

Professor Michael Triantafyllou's research remains focused in the area of vorticity control and his autonomous robot fish. His research had been reported by the national media and he was a finalist in the 1998 Discover Magazine Award for technological innovation.

Professor Kim Vandiver remains active in the offshore industry and as Director of the Edgerton Center. For the offshore industry he continues with his research of flow induced vibration of risers and cables and is examining various techniques to suppress these vibrations.

Professor Tomasz Wierzbicki continues with his consortium on Tanker Safety Phase II and has begun a new Consortium on Ultralight Structures which involves strength, ductility, and fracture of welds with defects.

Professor Dick Yue's research encompasses areas such as hydrodynamics of fish-like vehicles, autonomous robotic vehicles, technology and maneuvering for flexible vehicles, and extreme wave-loads of offshore structures.


Professor Nicholas Patrikalakis undertook a major effort in preparing an alumni survey (to assist our undergraduate program, obtain reliable statistics, and collect ABET related data). In addition, with the assistance of Professor John Leonard, they revised the OE web page and created a comprehensive jobs links for OE graduates in general, and built a "Career Profiles" web page for our graduates. Hopefully these activities will assist our undergraduate program to a major extent, as well as being useful for our graduate program.

Professor Henry Marcus is participating in two activities that will benefit our department, the first being a new International Logistics subject. As part of MIT's new MENG program in Logistics, Professor Marcus and Don Rosenfield, Leaders for Manufacturing Program, are developing a new subject in International Logistics which will be of interest and value to OE students. The second activity, the Extended Engineering Systems Council (EESC), is one in which Professor Marcus will participate with the School of Engineering to address issues of broader education. These new subjects will benefit our Ocean Systems Program and our Naval Engineers curriculum.

Professor Nicholas Makris is focusing his teaching efforts on developing a new undergraduate course 13.810, Acoustic Sensing, to satisfy Departmental and Institutional needs for an elective in the area of acoustics. He is also revising the undergraduate subject 13.015, Mathematical Methods in Ocean Engineering, by the introduction of statistical techniques.

Professor Dennis Mahoney has started efforts to redefine and reorient the 13A curriculum given the Navy's decision to reduce the program's duration from 36 to 27 months. This will involve distilling the current Navy Educational Skill Requirements (ESR) into core competencies, and then mapping those competencies to existing or potentially new subjects.

Professor John Leonard has devoted a great deal of time and energy to the department's undergraduate program in his teaching and co-teaching of undergraduate subjects (13.017, 13.018, 13.010), supervising UROP students in the OE Teaching Laboratory, and teaching a Freshman Advising Seminar for nine students, with great success.

Professor Michael Triantafyllou has recently secured approval for a space change in the basement of Building 48 to utilize some open space as a hydrology wet lab and to provide a secure area for staging field experiments.


Captain Alan J. Brown retired from the Navy but continued as a Senior Lecturer in the Department teaching 13.21, 13.122 and 13.60. He has accepted a position at Virginia Tech and part of his former teaching activities in Ocean Engineering will be taken over by Dr. David Burke, Senior Lecturer in Ocean Engineering, and former Senior Vice President and Vice President for Engineering of Draper Laboratory.

Dr. William Carey served a second year as a Senior Lecturer in the Department teaching graduate subjects in shallow water acoustics and sonar technology. He continues to work 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 although retired, continued with student supervision, 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 Teaching Laboratory in the Department and was also instrumental in establishing the Edward C. Brainard II Fund to support undergraduate student financial aid. He co-chaired a Coastal America mini-conference in June, 1998 with Dr. Jerry Schubel, President of the New England Aquarium, in conjunction with the White House Conference on the Oceans in Monterey, California, which involved leaders from the local area regarding maritime issues. He is also the chair of the Local Organizing Committee for the International Conference on Computer Applications in Shipbuilding, a major international conference to be held at MIT in June, 1999.

Professor Ernst G. Frankel continued with his lecture series in the Center for Advanced Engineering Studies.

Professors Kerwin and Masubuchi, although retired, continued with 49% appointments and remain active in teaching, student supervision, and research.

Professor Judith T. Kildow was an invited delegate to the White House Conference on the Oceans in Monterey, California in June, 1998. She will be assembling a panel of economic and policy experts who will advise and help produce a major economic study on the oceans during the next several years.

Professor John J. Leonard received a National Science Foundation Career Award entitled Dynamic Sonar Perception and Navigation effective July 1, 1998 for a total of $200,000 over a period of four years. He also continues as the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor in Ocean Utilization through 1999.

Captain Dennis Mahoney, USN, replaced Captain Alan Brown as Professor and Head of the Naval Construction and Engineering Program on August 29, 1997.

Professor Nicholas C. Makris joined the Department on July 1, 1997, bringing the total faculty strength to 14. He was inducted as a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America in December, 1997.

Professor Henry S. Marcus continues to hold the NAVSEA Chair (through ONR). He has also begun preparations for a two-day course in risk management to be held August 31 to September 1, 1998.

Professor Koichi Masubuchi received the Best Paper Award for his paper entitled "Development of Arc Welding Method for Building and Repairing Structures in Space" from the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineering.

Professor Jerome H. Milgram was elected a Fellow of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.

Professor Patrikalakis was the workshop chairman for the NSF Invitational Workshop on Distributed Information, Computation, and Process Management for Scientific and Engineering Environments held in May, 1998. The objective of this workshop was to bring together scientists involved with the development and utilization of simulations of complex systems, and computer scientists working on distributed intelligent repositories and process management.

Professor Henrik Schmidt was on sabbatical at SACLANT in Italy for the Academic Year 1997-98 employing the MIT autonomous underwater vehicles in the study of 3-D acoustical scattering in shallow littoral environments as part of the Generic Oceanographic Array Technology (GOATS 98) Project.

Professor Michael S. Triantafyllou assumed the position as Head of the 13W Program.

Professor J. Kim Vandiver completed his first year as CGSP representative which became effective July 1, 1997. Professor Vandiver also continues to serve as Director of the Edgerton Center which provides opportunities for students, especially freshmen, to engage in projects in engineering and science. In addition, he was a member of the Search Committee for the Dean of Admissions.

LCDR Mark S. Welsh, USN, continued as Associate Professor of Naval Construction and Engineering.


William R. Kreamer received the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) Undergraduate award for FY98.

Gerard McHugh was awarded the National Graduate Student Paper Honor Prize at the Annual Meeting of SNAME in Ottowa, October, 1997.

Roger Anderson received the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Scholarship Award for FY99.

Douglas Read received the George N. Butzow Systems Corporation Graduate Fellowship Award from MTS Systems Corporation for FY99.

The following graduate students were awarded the Martin A. Abkowitz International Fellowship: Wonjoon Cho who attended the CGI 98 Conference, and Lian Shen and Kelli Hendrickson who will attend the 1999 ONR workshop in Pasadena, California on "Free-Surface and Wall-Boundaries Turbulence and Turbulent Flows."

In addition, Professor Judith Kildow was provided funds from this fellowship to attend the White House Conference on the Oceans in Monterey, California in June, 1998.

The winner of the 1998 Wallace Prize, Nicholas Hahn, will be provided a full academic year of tuition and stipend. Nick was selected from a list of extremely qualified candidates.

The Fifteenth Wallace Lecture was presented in April, 1998 by Marcia McNutt of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The title of her lecture was "Ocean Observatories: Present Effort and Future Prospects."

The Third Annual T. Francis Ogilvie Lecture, held in October of 1997, was given by Dr. Wade R. McGillis on "Interfacial Hydrodynamic Measurements in the Ocean." Dr. McGillis is currently an Assistant Scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His research interests include the effect of turbulent boundary layers on the exchange of heat, mass, and the momentum at interfaces.

The Mit Naval Construction and Engineering Ship Design and Shipbuilding Technology Symposium 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.

This year's event was held on May 19 and 20, 1998. 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 speakers were Dr. Paris Genalis, Deputy Director Naval Warfare, Office of the Secretary of Defense; Dr. Reuven Leopold, President, SYNTEK; and Dr. Robert Winkler, Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary (Ship Programs), Department of the Navy, Office of the Assistant Secretary (Research, Development, and Acquisition.)

Our 18th annual reunion was held at the Westin Ottawa on October 16, 1997. Professor Henry S. Marcus represented Ocean Engineering and brought the alumni up to date with regard to the Department and its activities.


During this past year we have been gathering information on alumni who received their degree from the Department. This ever-increasing list of graduate career profiles can be found on our web page( and will also be produced in a brochure for the upcoming academic year. These profiles are being used to show potential students the possible career opportunities that are available to them.

In addition, in a continuing effort to increase awareness of our undergraduate program, the Department has offered to run the pilot program for the first undergraduate pre-freshman program offered by a department. This three-day program held just before Orientation Week in August is intended to bring freshman to MIT prior to the regular orientation period. The program is geared to help familiarize incoming students with life at MIT and to introduce them to Ocean Engineering by having them perform a simple, yet fun, experiment. The Department will follow up with several Freshman Advisor Seminars in the fall, UROPs during IAP, as well as Spring and Summer Terms 99. The program is limited to 30 students from the Class of 2002, showing them first-hand how ocean engineers create the technology that allows us to explore, utilize, and conserve the oceans in ways never before imagined. One goal of this program is to give these students a first glimpse of what engineering is all about and to let them sample some of the opportunities that the field of ocean engineering has to offer. A second, and perhaps more important goal is to get to know the students, build the basis for close relationships between them and the faculty, staff, and current students, and give them a preview of life on campus.

With the departure of Dr. Alan Brown, it has been decided to shift a portion of 13.21, Ship Power and Propulsion, into 13.410, Introduction to Naval Architecture, and to increase the units by six. In addition, the balance of 13.21 will be taught as a new 6-unit subject during IAP by Professor Douglas Carmichael.

Ship Structural Analysis and Design, 13.122, which was also taught by Dr. Brown, will be taught by Senior Lecturer David Burke. Ship Production, 13.60, will be moved to the summer, while 13.112, Safety of Marine Systems, will be on a one-year hiatus.

One of the new areas we are investigating is to introduce a new graduate subject, 13.40, Principles of Naval and Marine Engineering. This is one of three core subjects required for all NA & ME graduate students and may be-come two 12-unit subjects in a two semester sequence (Fall & Spring) offered every year beginning in Fall `98. Such a subject will replace 13.410.

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

Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98