“Uncertainty in Civil Engineering Design”
Civil engineering design includes many uncertainties, some of which are obvious and some of which many engineers may never have consciously considered. The level of uncertainty for civil engineering systems, mostly non-prototypical engineered systems, is larger than smaller scale engineered products because prototype testing is not possible. This presentation will examine the uncertainties facing engineers who design non-prototypical engineered systems and consider the ways that engineers have developed to manage those uncertainties in a manner that allows design decisions to be made. Uncertainty in design is impossible to escape, and the way it is managed affects both engineers and society. The way engineers approach uncertainty has philosophical, technical, and even ethical implications for the design and construction of civil engineering systems.