Geotechnical Society of Edmonton

NEWS 2015

September 1, 2015 (updated September 15, 2015)

Event: September 29, 2015

GSE/CGS Cross Canada Lecture Tour: Dr. Gordon Fenton, Dalhousie University - Reliability-Based Geotechnical Design: Link between Theory and Practice

Location: Winspear Room, Faculty Club, University of Alberta (11435 Saskatchewan Drive)

Time: 5:30 Registration, 6:00pm Dinner, 6:30pm Presentation

Cost: $35 Members/Non-members, $10 Students

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Please register for this event using the form below by September 27, 2015.

Geotechnical design codes are increasingly migrating towards reliability-based design concepts. What this means is that geotechnical designs are starting to be specifically targeted at a failure probability that is societally acceptable and that depends on the severity of failure consequences. For example, the foundation of a hydro-electric dam, whose failure may result in significant downstream damage and potential life-loss, must be designed to have a lower failure probability than the foundation of a storage shed.

In order to properly employ reliability-based design concepts, a basic understanding of the probability concepts, as well as the link between site and model understanding and failure probability, is required. This lecture explains the basic ideas of probability theory and how they are used in modern geotechnical design concepts. Questions, such as "How are standard site investigation results used to estimate the probability of failure of a designed geotechnical system? are addressed and illustrated using a number of examples.

Dr. Fenton is a cross-appointed professor to the Civil Engineering and Engineering Mathematics Departments at Dalhousie University. His research interests include probabilistic modeling of geotechnical systems and the development of geotechnical reliability-based design codes and have led to his authoring of over 140 peer-reviewed papers.

Dr. Fenton currently serves as chair of the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code Geotechnical Systems Committee, and is a member of the Canadian National Building Code Task Group on Climatic Loads, and a member of the Canadian National Building Code Standing Committee on Structural Design. He is also the North American Managing Editor for the international journal Georisk, past chair and current member of the ASCE Geo-Institute Risk Assessment and Management Committee, and vice-chair of the ISSMGE Engineering Practice of Risk Assessment and Management Committee.

For his research efforts, Dr. Fenton has received the Thomas C. Keefer Award from the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, the George Stephenson Medal from the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Gzowski Medal from the Engineering Institute of Canada, and was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. His research work is summarized in his textbook Risk Assessment in Geotechnical Engineering, (Wiley, 2008).

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