The design of geotechnical structures conventionally follows a deterministic approach. Single values of soil properties obtained in field or laboratory tests are assigned to distinct regions of the problem domain to perform deterministic analyses. For geostructures that require high reliability, e.g., dikes, embankment, the risk of failure needs to be properly evaluated, taking into account uncertainties in both material characteristics and spatial variability as in the field.
In a probabilistic approach, these uncertainties are quantified and modeled using random variables, random fields, and processes, etc. These key concepts in statistics and probability theory are combined with conventional geotechnical analysis methods, either analytical, empirical, or numerical, to form predictive tools for managing risks and uncertainty in geotechnical design and construction processes.
The Geo Risk Assessment course follows the book Risk assessment in Geotechnical engineering by G. A. Fenton & D. V. Griffiths. The course consists of 9-10 lectures, 4 tutorials, 1 group project, and 1 written and 1 oral exam. Topics covered in the lectures include
Tutorials are combined with mini-lectures to get students familiar with the following key aspects of geotechnical engineering.
- Basics of statistics and probability theory
- Statistical methods for analyzing geotechnical data, including probability density functions, modeling of point and spatial statistics, and their estimation
- Reliability-based design and first-order methods
- Data assimilation
- Constitutive modeling of geomaterials (e.g., Mohr-Coulomb, Critical state soil mechanics)
- Seepage flow in soil
- Numerical methods: finite element method
- Analysis of measurement data and construction of random fields
- Monte Carlo simulation
- Reliability and probability of failure
- Written exam (30%: statistics and probability theory, estimation of soil statistics, e.g., examples from the lectures)
- Assignments (10%)
- Group projects (40%: application of random finite element method to geotechnical engineering problems)
- Group project presentation, followed by oral exam sessions (20%)
Links to the other courses:
• Hydraulic engineering
• Engineering statistics
• Data analysis
• Soil mechanics
• Advanced Soil Mechanics
Is knowledge of programming skills necessary for this course? If yes, please specify the skills / knowledge of which programme(s) is / are needed.
MATLAB or Python