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Aalto Systems Forum

Engineering Risk Analysis: A Brief Perspective, Some Examples, and Comments on Fukushima

A Public Lecture by Prof. Elisabeth Paté-Cornell

Thursday, June 28th at 15.30-16.30
Riihi room (U229a), Systems Analysis Laboratory, Otakaari 1 M, Aalto University School of Science, Espoo

In this talk, I will present briefly the general method of engineering analysis, based on systems analysis and probability (mostly Bayesian) and a set of examples. In particular I will illustrate “the risk of no risk analysis” by the case of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor, focusing on the choice of the tsunami design criterion. I will then present two specific illustrations of probabilistic risk analyses and the practical recommendations that they supported. The first one is the risk of space shuttle mission loss caused by a failure of the heat shield, and the second that of patient risks in anesthesia. I will conclude by inferring some key lessons learned from a range of risk analysis studies.

The lecture is organized in collaboration with AFFRST (l'Association Franco-Finlandaise pour la Recherche Scientifique et Technique, Suomalais-ranskalainen teknillistieteellinen seura).


Dr. M. Elisabeth Paté-Cornell was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1948. She attended public high schools both in Dakar and in La Rochelle, France. Her undergraduate degree is in mathematics and physics (BS, Marseilles, France, 1968), and her first graduate degrees are in applied mathematics and computer science (MS and Engineer Degree, Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble, France, 1970; 1971). In 1971 she came to study and live in the United States, where she has been a citizen since 1986. She received a Masters degree in Operations Research (OR) in 1972 and a Ph.D. in Engineering-Economic Systems (EES) in 1978, both from Stanford University. She then was an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at MIT, before joining the Stanford faculty in 1981, where she became Professor (in 1991) and then Chair (in 1997) in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management (IEEM). In 1999, she was named the Burt and Deedee McMurtry Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University. She is presently Professor and Chair of the Department of Management Science and Engineering, as well as a Senior Fellow (by courtesy) of the Stanford Institute for International Studies.


The event is free of charge and open for all who are interested. The event will be held in English.

Aalto Systems Forum

The growing challenge of our time is the need to have the ability to see and manage wholes, i.e. systems. The Aalto Systems Forum aims to be a platform of dialogue for practitioners and reasearchers to share the latest results of the field by top international scholars.

Aalto Systems Forum is organized by the Systems Analysis Laboratory research group at the Department of Mathematics and Systems Analysis of Aalto University School of Science. /

  To estimate the number of participants, pre-enrollment to course coordinator