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Smidts named IEEE Fellow for contributions to reliability analysis of high-assurance systems

As a trailblazer in the nuclear engineering field, Professor Carol Smidts was recognized for her career, research and service accomplishments by being elevated to Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Smidts’ research explores probabilistic risk assessment, human and software reliability modeling, and digital systems reliability. IEEE reserves this prestigious honor for members who have an outstanding record of accomplishments in the field. Smidts is joined by less than 0.1 percent of the association’s voting members in this member grade elevation, which became effective on Jan. 1. 

Smidts, who serves as the director of the nuclear program within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), was recognized by IEEE for her contributions to reliability analysis of high-assurance systems. 

As the lead researcher for the university’s Reliability and Risk Laboratory, Smidts advises graduate and undergraduate researchers on a number of projects on probabilistic risk assessment, dynamic methodologies, continuous event trees and Markov analysis.

A recent grant from the United States Department of Energy in collaboration with the University of Tennessee will allow Smidts to develop an effective approach to resolve concerns about common-cause failure vulnerability that inhibits the deployment of advanced instrumentation, such as sensors, actuators and microcontrollers, using an embedded digital device. This project will have real-world implications for nuclear power plant application. Last year, Smidts received $800,000 in funding from the United States Department of Energy to research automated aids to reactor operators in cases of cyber-security threats. Since joining MAE as a full professor in 2008, Smidts has received close to $7 million in research funding support.

In addition to this honor, she received the 2009 Award for Outstanding Contributions as an Author and Researcher in the Field of Reliability Modeling from the Society for Reliability Engineering, Quality and Operations Management. Smidts is featured on a variety of Who’s Who lists, including Who’s Who of American Women, since 2011; Who’s Who in the World, since 2008; Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, since 2008; Who’s Who in America, since 2007; and American Men and Women in Science, since 2006. She’s also a member of the American Nuclear Society.

Smidts has co-authored one textbook, eight book chapters, 45 articles in referred journals, 107 referred conference proceedings, 20 research reports and holds three patents.

Smidts earned her master’s degree and PhD in engineering physics from the Université libre de Bruxelles.


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