Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Mathematics and Statistics

Department name when degree awarded

Applied Statistics


C. V. Sisson


In the development of any product to perform a specific function the first concern of the engineer is to design for satisfactory operation. Engineers originally approached the reliability problem by using excessive safety factors to be assured the structure or material would withstand the calculated loads and stresses. The engineer also learned from operating or testing the equipment until failures occurred and then redesigning as mistakes became apparent. These methods were time consuming and often resulted in bulky over designed products. These approaches became impractical with the advent of new technological advancements. The accelerated industrial development of aircraft, missiles, and modern electronics coupled with a need for a drastic reduction in weight and size magnified the problem.

As products became more complex the problem of building a reliable product was intensified. An appreciation for the increase in complexity can be gained from considering that in a period of fifteen years the requirements for electronic tubes on a U.S. Navy destroyer changed from sixty to thirty-six hundred (14). During World War II new equipment was developed that had to be operational for extended period of time if the military mission was to be accomplished. The addition of a time requirement added to the already difficult problem caused by the increasing complexity of equipment. It soon became obvious that new techniques had to be developed that would assist the manufacturer in designing a reliable product.