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CIMNE Seminar - Numerical Analysis of Factors of Safety and Probabilities of Failure in Geotechnical Engineering, by D.V. Griffiths

Thursday, October 19th, 2016. Time: 12 p.m.

Place: O.C. Zienkiewicz Conference Room, C1 Building, UPC Campus Nord, Barcelona.


There has been a rapid growth of interest in risk assessment, and the use of probabilistic methods in geotechnical engineering. This is a logical development, since soils and rocks are among the most variable of all engineering materials, and geotechnical engineers must often make do with materials they are dealt with at any particular site. Analysis of a typical stability problem may lead to a “probability of failure”, as opposed to the more traditional “factor of safety”, representing a fundamental shift in the way engineers need to think about the suitability of their designs. The seminar will discuss results of stability analyses of variable soils by the finite element method, and the definition of the factor of safety and its relationship to the probability of failure. Some methods of probabilistic analysis with varying levels of complexity are described.


GriffithsD.V. Griffiths, PhD, DSc, PE, DGE, FICE, FASCE, completed a Master’s degree at UC Berkeley and Doctoral degrees at the University of Manchester, UK. He was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester, before moving to his current position as Professor of Civil Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, USA, where his primary research interests lie in application of finite element and risk assessment methodologies in civil engineering.
He has written over 300 research papers, including some of the most highly cited in the geotechnical engineering research literature. He is the co-author of three textbooks that have gone into multiple and foreign language editions, entitled "Programming the Finite Element Method", 5th edition, Wiley (2014); "Risk assessment in Geotechnical Engineering", Wiley (2008); and "Numerical Methods for Engineers", 2nd edition, Chapman & Hall/CRC (2006, 2015). He gives regular short-courses for practitioners on risk and finite element applications in geotechnical engineering, with courses already scheduled for 2016-17 in Canada, Australia, Colombia and Norway. Dr. Griffiths is a former ASCE Director and is currently an editor of Computers and Geotechnics, on the Advisory Panel of Géotechnique and on the Editorial Board of Georisk.