Tags » Probability And Risk

More Philosophy for Engineers

In a post on Richard Feynman and philosophy of science, I suggested that engineers would benefit from a class in philosophy of science. A student recently asked if I meant to say that a course in philosophy would make engineers better at engineering – or better philosophers. 679 more words


A New Era of Risk Management?

The quality of risk management has mostly fallen for the past few decades. There are signs of change for the better.

Risk management is a broad field; many kinds of risk must be managed. 1,441 more words

Probability And Risk

Common-Mode Failure Driven Home

In a recent post I mentioned that probabilistic failure models are highly vulnerable to wrong assumptions of independence of failures, especially in redundant system designs. Common-mode failures in multiple channels defeats the purpose of redundancy in fault-tolerant designs. 1,093 more words

Probability And Risk

Belief in Probability - Part 2

Last time I started with my friend Willie’s bold claim that he doesn’t believe in probability; then I gave a short history of probability. I observed that defining probability is a controversial matter, split between objective and subjective interpretations. 1,411 more words

Systems Engineering

Belief in Probability - Part 1

Years ago in a meeting on design of a complex, redundant system for a commercial jet, I referred to probabilities of various component failures. In front of this group of seasoned engineers, a highly respected, senior member of the team interjected, “I don’t believe in probability.” His proclamation stopped me cold. 879 more words


Is Fault Tree Analysis Deductive?

An odd myth persists in systems engineering and risk analysis circles. Fault tree analysis (FTA), and sometimes fault trees themselves, are said to be deductive. FMEAs are called inductive. 781 more words


Feynman's Minority Report and Top-Down Design

On reading my praise of Richard Feynman, a fellow systems engineer and INCOSE member (International Council on Systems Engineering) suggested that I read Feynman’s Minority Report… 2,167 more words