Engineering Physics  
Engineering Physics : Faculty :
Vicki M. Bier

Vicki M. Bier

Vicki M. Bier

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    3234 Mechanical Engineering Building
    1513 University Avenue
    Madison, WI 53706
    Tel: 608/262-2064

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    Professor Bier is a risk analyst and decision analyst specializing in methods for the probabilistic risk analysis of nuclear power plants. She is also interested in societal decision-making regarding technological hazards in general.

    Her current research interests include: the use of accident precursors in Bayesian estimation of rare event frequencies. An accident precursor can be loosely described as a "near miss" and includes those accidents that are greater than expected in normal day to day operations, but less than catastrophic. Bier has studied precursor data published by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to discover how likely it is that an accident will happen, and what types of accidents are likely to occur. Her analysis, for example, shows that accidents caused by human error follow predictable patterns. This information can help plant designers prevent mistakes by making ergonomic changes. Other interests include the used of expert opinion in probabilistic risk analysis; and methods for effective risk communication, both to decision makers and to the general public.

    More theoretical interests include determination of the optimal level of problem decomposition in estimation of accident frequencies, and the relationships between fuzzy set theory and probability theory.

    Date last modified: 19-Aug-2011
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