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Unit information: Fundamentals of Reliability for Engineers in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Fundamentals of Reliability for Engineers
Unit code CENGM0043
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. De Luca
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


The aim of this unit is to enable the students to systematically understand the required theoretical basis and technical skills such as to feel comfortable with basic probability and statistics aimed at decision making for engineers. It introduces to the concepts of reliability analysis in pursuit of understanding design codes and in pursuit of building critical awareness on current and future design codes and guidelines (e.g., safety factors, partial coefficients).

The course will be delivered in the context of civil engineering applications with specific focus on structural and earthquake engineering related applications. Each theoretical topic that will be covered in this unit will be explained through practice engineering and research examples for a better understanding of applications of the theoretical concepts delivered.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course, the students will be able to:

ILO 1. Be able to restate the problem of societal decision-making.

ILO 2. Apply statistical methods to (i) describe properties of data-sets, (ii) fit probability distributions or regression models to data, (iii) conduct hypothesis testing applying autonomously these tools in the field of structural and earthquake engineering practice.

ILO 3. Explain and comprehend the fundamental concepts of structural reliability and the role of simulation in structural reliability.

ILO 4. Comprehend and implement Monte Carlo simulation for the estimation of probability of failure in structural reliability problems.

ILO 5. Explain and comprehend the philosophy of codes and guidelines based on reliability methods.

Teaching details

18 hours of lectures, 2 hours of seminar, 2 hours of computer lab session

Lectures will be arranged to cover statistics applied to engineering decision-making, methods of structural reliability, and their application in structural codes. Each lesson will include applied engineering examples to emphasize the applicability of the theoretical concepts. One computer lab-session will be organized to implement and apply the general principles into a mathematical software environment (e.g., Excel, Matlab). One seminar session will be organized to show one or more research applications of reliability to earthquake engineering.

Students will supplement these by undertaking wider reading.

24 contact hrs

76 hrs private study

Assessment Details

2hr written examination (100%) (ILO 1-5)

Please note that regular formative feedback will be provided through teaching activity such as simple exercises and optional activities.

Reading and References

Ang A H-S, Tang W.H. Probability Concepts in Engineering: Emphasis on Applications to Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2nd Edition, Wiley, (2006).

Faber M.H. Statistics and Probability Theory in Pursuit of Engineering Decision Support. Springer, (2012).

Melchers R.E. Structural Reliability Analysis and Prediction, 2nd Edition. Wiley, (1999).

Pinto P.E., Giannini R., Franchin P. Seismic Reliability Analysis of Structures. IUSS Press, (2004).

Selection of one or more academic papers as follow up to the research seminar.