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For nearly a century, MIT has been a leading center of ship research and design, and is widely recognized for its contributions in such areas as hydrodynamics, ship structural mechanics and dynamics, propeller design, and overall ship design. The Pratt School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, which was established through a bequest to MIT in 1912, is an integral part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Today, MIT is at the forefront of ocean science and engineering, with significant efforts in fluid mechanics and hydrodynamics, acoustics, offshore mechanics, marine robotics and sensors, and ocean sensing and forecasting. In addition, the Naval Construction program provides advanced graduate education on the design of naval ships and vehicles.
With steady advances in digital technology during the last 50 years, robotics has become an ever-more promising field of research. Control systems and artificial intelligence are extremely significant parts of robotic technology. The economic benefits of robotics in manufacturing sectors are growing daily. Robotics can also play important roles in activities that are dangerous or expensive with present technology. For instance, robotic technology is often an excellent choice for conducting research in the oceans and in outerspace. In the near future, researchers will be able to deploy numerous networked robotic ocean observatories, expanding the quantity and quality of data available to scientists and the public worldwide.