On Friday, October 26th, the Denver Section of the IEEE Reliability Society held a technical meet at the Tivoli Building of the University of Colorado-Denver. Our newest Chair, Dr. Jason W. Rupe, presented his observations and work on the advances in the area of network reliability, in particular Telecommunications Reliability.
After a brief informal discussion to get the event going, and to give everyone a chance to enjoy the pizza and subs provided by the CU-Denver Department of Electrical Engineering, the presentation started with a discussion about how every engineer has the task of reliability in some way. Reliability, after all, is really about making things last longer, work better, and more effectively deliver. Once research creates a capability, engineers take over to develop it, which is really about making it more reliable. In other words, reliability is development, making a technology scale better.
Then the main talk proceeded with a presentation of how different areas of engineering are mostly unaware of the work done in other areas, and how that leads to research that is not well connected to some of the practical problems. Jason then presented some of the work he is doing that attempts to take the best of the research, but add his own improvements to help the work better address the needs of engineers. After presenting some of his approaches and example results, the group discussed their thoughts on the matter, and even how they have observed themselves in their own areas where more sharing of approaches and technology will benefit all.
Rather than being a “T” shaped person, one who is broad in many areas, but very deep in one, we discussed how an engineer should be a network shaped person, looking across disciplines to use and share ideas and results and capabilities to better all. As reliability engineers and researchers, we are uniquely capable, having a lot to share with many disciplines as we work within many disciplines as well.
We concluded the presentation with an impromptu tour of some of the CU-Denver labs. Dr. Yiming Deng, who conducts research in many areas of prognostics and making medical devices more reliable, showed us some of the work he is leading on using a combination of two sensing technologies at the same time to get a better view into devices for better non-destructive testing. Then Dr. Rui Liu gave us a quick tour of the concrete testing lab, which includes facilities for rapid temperature cycling of concrete blocks, and environmentally controlled chambers for designed experiments on the curing of concrete. He also showed us several of the devices they have which allows them to create new mixes and test them for strength.
We concluded with a discussion of how we learned a bit from each other, and some ideas we gained as a result of sharing our different disciplines. While we had far fewer attendees than we planned and hoped for, the result was a benefit to the engineers and student who attended. We all were able to return home with new ideas for improving the reliability in our various disciplines.
If you missed this meeting, do not be concerned as our next meeting, planned at the same location on Thursday, November 29, where we will learn more about the research being conducted by Dr. Rui Liu on concrete and bridge reliability. Hope to see you there!