UN 0701 – Engineering Risk and Reliability

For the most up-to-date Course Material and Information go to http://www.civil.uwaterloo.ca/watrisk/un0701.html


  February 25 & 26, 2017
  March 11 & 12, 2017
  March 25 & 26, 2017
  April 8 & 9, 2017
 Start Time:

  9:00 a.m.

  Lecturer Theatre
  Durham College – Whitby Campus
 1610 Champlain Avenue,  Whitby, ON, L1N 6A7
Directions to Durham College Whitby Campus: 



  • Final date to Register – March 10, 2017
  • Last day to Drop Course – March 10, 2017

Recordings – https://mcmaster.webex.com/

23.03.2017 Posted Problem Set 3
09.03.2017 Posted revised version of Section 8 of course notes
09.03.2017 Posted Problem Set 2
27.02.2017 Posted modified version of Problem Set 1. Question 10 has been removed.
22.02.2017 Posted Problem Set 1.
22.02.2017 Posted data files to be used in the in-class exercises.

The first session for Winter 2017 will be held on February 25 & 26 (Sat/Sun) in the Lecture Theatre at the Durham College Skills Training Centre in Whitby. The start time for the first day is 9:00 am.
See the course schedule below.

NOTE: Please bring a copy of the course notes prior to the first session (either electronic or hard copy).  Also, bring a laptop (with MS-Excel) to be used for the in-class exercises.  Please review the accompanying tutorial if you are not familiar with MS-Excel. 


Course Description

This course presents a broad treatment of the subject of engineering decision, risk, and reliability. Emphasis is on

  1. the modelling of engineering problems and evaluation of systems performance under conditions of uncertainty;
  2. risk-based approach to life-cycle management of engineering systems;
  3. systematic development of design criteria, explicitly taking into account the significance of uncertainty; and
  4. logical framework for risk assessment and risk-benefit tradeoffs in decision making.

The necessary mathematical concepts are developed in the context of engineering problems. The main topics of discussion are: probability theory, statistical data analysis, component and system reliability concepts, time-dependent reliability analysis, computational methods, life-cycle optimization models and risk management in public policy.

Prerequisite: Registration in the UNENE Joint M. Eng.Program
Lecturer: Dr. Mahesh Pandey, University of Waterloo

Course Schedule

The course is divided into eight separate modules delivered over four weekends: Course schedule (pdf 164 kb)

Module 1: Fundamentals of Probability   February 25 (Saturday)
Module 2: Statistical Analysis   February 26 (Sunday) 
Module 3: Functions of Random Variables March 11 (Saturday)
Module 4: Repairable System Reliability March 12 (Sunday)
Module 5: Uncertainty Analysis March 25 (Saturday)
Module 6: Bayesian Reliability March 26 (Sunday)
Module 7: System Reliability Analysis    April 8 (Saturday)
Module 8: Risk Ranking and Significance   April 9 (Sunday)


Marking Scheme: Assignments 75%, Final Exam 25%

Course Notes

The reference material for the course consists of extensive lecture notes. Please note that the lecture notes are password protected. You will need to register in the course and contact the course assistant to receive the passwords.  Also, please contact us if you have any problem accessing/downloading the notes.
Section 8 – revised (pdf 1.6 Mb)
MS-Excel Tutorial
For those students who are unfamiliar with Microsoft Excel, please review the following tutorial prior to the first session.
Please contact the course assistant if you have any questions or experience any problems.

Problem Sets

Please submit the first problem set by the end of the March 25-26 session.

  • Problem Set 3 – Due date: April 9, 2017
    Please submit the third problem set by the end of the April 8-9 session.
  • Problem Set 2 – Due Date: March 26, 2017
  • Problem Set 1 (modified 27.02.2017) – Due date: March 12, 2017
    Please submit the first problem set by the end of the March 11-12 session.

Additional Information

  • Please download the following Excel data files to your laptop, memory stick, etc. to be used in the in-class exercises.

data1.xls (69 Kb)
data2.xls (112 Kb)
data3.xls (36 Kb)


The main reference for the course will be the lecture notes. Additional references for the course are as follows:

  • Any Probability and Statistics textbook used in an engineering program (typically at second year level).
  • Ang, A.H-S. and W.H. Tang. 2006. Probability Concepts in Engineering: Emphasis on Applications to Civil and Environmental Engineering. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
  • Benjamin, J.R. and C.A. Cornell. 1970. Probability, Statistics, and Decision for Civil Engineers. McGraw-Hill, New York.
  • Fullwood, R.R. and R.E. Hall. 1988. Probabilistic Risk Assessment in the Nuclear Power Industry: Fundamentals & Applications. Pergamon Press, Oxford.
  • McCormick, N.J. 1981. Reliability and Risk Analysis: Methods and Nuclear Power Applications. Academic Press, New York.
  • Melchers, R.E. 1999. Structural Reliability Analysis and Prediction (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.