22.38 Probability And Its Applications To Reliability, Quality Control, And Risk Assessment

Fall 2005

Fault tree for external tank and solid rocket booster.
A fault tree from the NASA Accident Analysis Team in Report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident. (Courtesy of NASA.)

Course Highlights

This course features a complete set of homework assignments and extensive lecture notes.

Course Description

This course covers interpretations of the concept of probability. Topics include basic probability rules; random variables and distribution functions; functions of random variables; and applications to quality control and the reliability assessment of mechanical/electrical components, as well as simple structures and redundant systems. The course also considers elements of statistics; Bayesian methods in engineering; methods for reliability and risk assessment of complex systems (event-tree and fault-tree analysis, common-cause failures, human reliability models); uncertainty propagation in complex systems (Monte Carlo methods, Latin Hypercube Sampling); and an introduction to Markov models. Examples and applications are drawn from nuclear and other industries, waste repositories, and mechanical systems.
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Prof. Michael Golay

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week
1.5 hours / session