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Reliability of Marine Structures

RMS Program History (1988-2002)

The Reliability of Marine Structures (RMS) Program operated out of the Blume Center from 1988 to 2002, leading advanced research in marine structures behavior and reliability. The Program combined post-M.S. graduate study with basic research in structural reliability applications. These applications initially ranged from the modelling of joint ocean environmental processes (wind-wave-current), through the modelling and analysis of the resulting hydrodynamic loads and gross responses, to the development of probability-based design codes. The research was funded both by federal and industry affiliate sponsors.

Because marine facilities are large investments--installation costs for deep-water platforms range into the billions of dollars--the offshore industry was ready to study their reliability with care. It was often more prepared than the other structural engineering fields to invest in research and new technology. Because of this, the RMS Program pioneered techniques that were at the time infeasible for broader structural engineering applications but have now found much more widespread adoption. For example, the bridge and building research communities have now widely adopted nonlinear structural analysis for seismic loadings, which the offshore industry originally pioneered and codified in the 1980's. Probabilistic nonlinear hazard and risk analysis procedures originally developed for steel jacket platforms have now been adopted for use more widely, and the RMS Program facilitated much of this technology transfer in its later years. Similarly, the RMS Program studied the reliability of wind turbines against fatigue. A common theme of this research was the focus on assessing reliability of engineered structures in uncertain load environments, and designing to maximize this reliability. The pioneering work performed by the RMS Program remains relevant today, and so the theses and research reports produced by the Program are now archived here at the Blume Center. Additionally, software developed by the RMS effort is supported at Finally, this work continues today by the many people listed below, who use the education they recieved from the RMS Program as they remain active in research and industry.


The RMS Program was run by Professor C. Allin Cornell, with the assistance of Steven Winterstein. They hosted a number of graduate student researchers and visiting scholars from industry, as listed below.

Graduate students

  • Jack Baker
  • Paolo Bazzurro
  • Jorge Carballo
  • Mary Dickson
  • LeRoy Fitzwater
  • Fatemeh Jalayer
  • Alok Jha
  • Ronald de Jong
  • Tina Kashef
  • Dejan Krunic
  • Satyendra Kumar
  • Cliff Lange
  • Nicolas Luco
  • Lance Manuel
  • Knut Ronold
  • Douglas Schmucker
  • Robert Sewell
  • Nilesh Shome
  • John Albert Sweetman
  • Hjörtur Thráinsson
  • Rune Torhaug
  • Polsak Tothong
  • Peter Tsai
  • Todd Ude
  • Dimitrios Vamvatsikos
  • Shen-Chyun Wu
  • Gee Liek Yeo

Visiting Scholars 

  • Knut Engebretsen, Aker Engineering 
  • Gudmund Kleiven, Norsk Hydro 
  • Arvid Naess, NTH (Norwegian Inst. of Tech.) 
  • Ivar Langen, Statoil 
  • Iunio Iervolino, ROSE School 
  • Tom Marthinsen, Saga Petroleum 
  • Sverre Haver, Statoil 
  • Peter Bjerager, DNV-Sesam