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Probability, Statistics, and Decision for Civil Engineers, PDF Free Download


Designed as a primary text for civil engineering courses, as a supplementary text for courses in other areas, or for self-study by practicing engineers, this text covers the development of decision theory and the applications of probability within the field.


This book is designed for use by students, practitioners, teachers, and researchers in civil
engineering. Most books on probability and statistics are intended for readers from many fields, and
therefore the question might be asked, “Why is it necessary to have a book on applied probability and
statistics for civil engineers alone?” Further, within civil engineering itself, we might ask, “Why is it
reasonable to attempt to write to an audience with such widely varying needs?” The need for writing
such a book is a result of the unusual status of probability and statistics in civil engineering.

Although virtually all forward-looking civil engineers see the rationality and utility of probabilistic
models of phenomena of interest to the profession, the number of civil engineers trained in probability theory has been limited. As a result there has not yet been widespread adoption of such models in practice or even in university courses below the advanced graduate level. Indeed, there has not yet been sufficient development of such models to permit a unified probabilistic approach to the many aspects of the strength of materials, soil mechanics, construction planning, water-resource design, and many other subjects where the methods could clearly be useful.

Many departments of civil engineering now require that their students study probability or
statistics. Subsequent undergraduate technical courses, however, usually lack material that draws
upon that study, and this often leaves the student without an appreciation for possible implications of
the theory. Through the use of illustrations and problems taken solely from the civil-engineering field
this book is designed to develop this appreciation for applications. It can serve as a primary text for a
course within a civil-engineering department or as a supplementary text for courses taught in other
departments. The major compromise here was the acceptance of the risk of obscuring or confusing the basic theory in describing the illustrative physical problem. We could have avoided this risk by using only examples dealing with coins, dice, red and black balls, etc., but the desire to develop the ability to construct mathematical models of physical phenomena in civil-engineering applications weighed heavily in favor of professional illustrations.

Students finishing such a professionally oriented probability course may or may not go on to
advanced courses in the theory. This consideration dictated at least an introductory coverage of a
wide variety of material coupled with a thorough treatment of the fundamentals. The kinds of
compromises involved in trying to decide between breadth in subject matter and depth in
fundamentals are obvious. It is unlikely that our many decisions of this kind will be judged optimal by all, or, indeed, by ourselves in time.

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