The importance of quality and reliability to a system cannot be disputed. Product failures in the field inevitably lead to losses in the form of repair cost, warranty claims, customer dissatisfaction, product recalls, loss of sales, and in extreme cases, loss of life. Thus, quality and reliability play a critical role in modern science and engineering and so enjoy various opportunities and face a number of challenges.

As quality and reliability science evolves, it reflects the trends and transformations of technological support. A device utilizing a new technology, whether it be a solar power panel, a stealth aircraft, or a state-of-the-art medical device, needs to function properly and without failure throughout its mission life. New technologies bring about new failure mechanisms (chemical, electrical, physical, mechanical, structural, etc.), new failure sites, and new failure modes. Therefore, continuous advancement of the physics of failure, combined with a multi-disciplinary approach, is essential to our ability to address those challenges in the future.

In addition to the transformations associated with changes in technology, the field of quality and reliability engineering has been going through its own evolution: developing new techniques and methodologies aimed at process improvement and reduction of the number of design- and manufacturing-related failures.

The concept of design for reliability (DFR) has been gaining popularity in recent years and its development ...

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