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Sussman named interim director of MIT’s Engineering Systems Division

Professor of civil and environmental engineering succeeds Yossi Sheffi
Joseph Sussman, the new interim director of the Engineering Systems Division
Joseph Sussman, the new interim director of the Engineering Systems Division

Joseph Sussman, the JR East Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a professor in the Engineering Systems Division (ESD), has been named ESD’s interim director, School of Engineering Dean Ian Waitz announced today. He succeeds Yossi Sheffi, the Elisha Gray II Professor of Engineering Systems and director of the MIT Center for Transportation Logistics. Sussman will begin his new role effective Sept. 1.

ESD, founded in 1998, takes an interdisciplinary approach to solving complex challenges. Researchers combine engineering techniques with management and social sciences to tackle problems ranging from how to provide affordable health care to rebuilding aging infrastructure and managing global supply chains.

Sussman, who joined the faculty in 1967, has considerable experience working across disciplines at MIT. From 1977 to 1979, he served as the associate dean for educational programs; from 1980 to 1985, he was head of the Department of Civil Engineering; and from 1986 to 1991, he served as director of the Center for Transportation Studies.  

Currently, Sussman chairs the U.S. Department of Transportation Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Board, and has worked extensively to help build the U.S. program. His research focuses on “Complex, Large-Scale, Interconnected, Open, Sociotechnical” (CLIOS) Systems. Sussman is currently designing a new methodology for regional transportation planning, and has looked for ways to build intelligent transportation systems in Mexico City, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and, most recently, Portugal.

As an early member of ESD, Sussman played an integral part in launching the division’s doctoral-degree program. He also created the transportation-systems focus area for the MIT-Portugal Program, a five-year program in engineering established in 2006. Sussman has worked to set up an international master of science degree with three universities in Portugal, as well as done research in regional strategic transportation planning, intelligent transportation systems and high-speed rail.

“Professor Sussman has been deeply involved in all aspects of ESD since its inception,” Waitz wrote in an announcement to the ESD community. “I know that ESD will be in very good hands.”

A frequently quoted expert on high-speed rail systems, Sussman is the author of Introduction to Transportation Systems, a graduate text published in 2000, and Perspectives on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), published in 2005.

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