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Lerman named deputy director of Singapore-MIT collaboration


Professor Steven Lerman was named deputy director of the Singapore-MIT Alliance as of Jan. 1.

Lerman, the Class of 1922 Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, succeeds Professor Anthony Patera, who was named MIT co-director of the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA) in February 2001 after serving as deputy director.

The announcement was made by Dean of Engineering Thomas Magnanti, who said, "we are delighted that Steve has agreed to assume this important responsibility. It's only fitting that one of MIT's flagship institutional programs, with its pioneering efforts in distance education and research, should be-nefit from the wisdom and leadership of one of MIT's leading voices in the area of educational technology. We look forward to Steve's many contributions to SMA."

Prior to his appointment, Lerman, who directs the Center for Educational Computing Initiatives, served on the SMA Board of Advisors. His research interests are in multimedia educational software, computer applications in education, and transportation systems analysis.

From 1983-88, he was director of Project Athena at MIT during the development of the X Window System and the Kerberos authentication system, and he has remained at the forefront of computing education and computer applications in education. Most recently, Lerman played a leading role in the formulation of the new MIT OpenCourseWare initiative.

"It has been clear from the beginning that Steve should play a leadership role in SMA," said Patera. "Through his participation, he will continue his longstanding efforts to improve the MIT experience through thoughtful and careful application of technology. The latter is particularly important as MIT expands its reach--defining distance not by the usual geographic metrics, but rather by common intellectual interests and shared academic standards."

The Singapore co-director of SMA, Professor Hang Chang Chieh, said, "we are very fortunate to have Steve join us in SMA. He brings with him many years of personal and institutional involvement in areas very important to the future of SMA."

Lerman and his wife Lori are housemasters of the new graduate student dormitory at 224 Albany St. He was chair of the faculty from 1999-2001. He received the S.B. (1972), S.M. (1973) and Ph.D. (1975) from MIT. He joined the civil and environmental engineering faculty in 1975 and became a full professor in 1984. Lerman has authored more than 50 publications, including two books. He has held several chairs at MIT and has been recognized for his teaching with awards and the chair he now holds.


The Singapore-MIT Alliance is an engineering education and research collaboration among the National University of Singapore ,Nanyang Technological University and MIT. SMA utilizes four state-of-the-art videoconferencing classrooms at MIT to provide interactive distance education. Forty-four MIT faculty members from six departments and three schools collaborate with 49 Singaporean colleagues to provide graduate education and research supervision to more than 160 SMA students in five areas: advanced materials for micro- and nanosystems, high-performance computation for engineered systems, innovation in manufacturing systems and technology, molecular engineering of biological and chemical systems, and computer science.

SMA will hold its second annual symposium from Jan. 14-16 at the University Cultural Center at the National University of Singapore. The event will highlight the educational and research achievements of SMA. More than 40 MIT faculty members and senior administrators will be in attendance, including President Charles Vest, Chancellor Phillip Clay, Provost Robert Brown, Magnanti, Patera and Lerman. Additionally, 26 MIT students will travel to the symposium to present research funded by the program.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 9, 2002.

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