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‘Failure is not an Accident: Engineering Defense-in-Depth into Complex Systems’ - Brent Spillner, CAPT, USN

Event Type
Department of Naval Science
1320 - Digital Computer Lab, 1304 W Springfield Ave, Urbana, IL 61801
Feb 28, 2024   3:30 - 4:30 pm  
Originating Calendar
Illinois ECE Calendar

Abstract: Human error--- whether by designers, builders, managers, or operators--- tends to be the greatest source of risk in most systems.  A detailed understanding of human and organizational psychology is required in order to build in measures of assurance that mistakes will be quickly detected and corrected, or that their impact will be limited.  However, even in industries with a clearly recognized intolerance for failure (e.g. aerospace, medicine, nuclear power, manned undersea vehicles) there tends to be large variance between organizations in the discipline with which these practices are executed, and many accident investigations tend to focus on the specific errors made while glossing over the larger organizational factors that made those errors so consequential.  This seminar will discuss lessons learned and best practices from the U.S. Navy submarine program, and their wider applicability to other engineering endeavors.

Bio: Captain Spillner (B.S. Computer Science '98, M.S. Computer Science '00) has spent his career in the U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered submarine force.  He had the privilege to command the fast-attack submarines USS SPRINGFIELD and USS GREENEVILLE, and now commands the submarine tender USS EMORY S LAND.  His shore tours include assignments as an Olmsted Scholar at the University of Amsterdam, a stint in personnel policy as the Submarine Officer Community Manager, a NATO tour as Protocol Branch Head at Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, service as the Senior Combat Readiness Inspector for Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and the U.S. Navy Hudson Fellow at the University of Oxford.   While at UIUC, he worked as both an undergraduate and graduate research assistant in the Knowledge-Based Systems Group, which was a unique collaboration between the Departments of Computer Science, Psychology, and Aviation that first kindled his interest in the fascinating world of organizational engineering and safety culture.

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