Second edition of the short course Uncertainty Quantification, Reliability and Sensitivity Analyses applied to Geotechnics and Structures


It is our pleasure to invite you to the second edition of this symposium. Last year, more than 60 people
attended the first edition which was organized on Zoom, due to CoVid issues. We hope and believe that
this year we’ll be able to welcome you in person at HEIA-FR, in order to practice hands-on exercises.
Anyway you will have the choice to participate physically in Fribourg, or virtually, via Zoom.
Uncertainty is present everywhere in geotechnical engineering and soil-structure interaction analysis:
soil parameters are usually not known exactly, and also vary in space. Common practice consists in
performing a deterministic analysis with “safety” factors. However, this technique does not give much
insight into what the actual risk is. Today, a stronger integration of probabilistic approaches into safety
assessment procedures and geotechnical computational mechanics in general seems appropriate.
This short course will give participants an insight into probabilistic approaches, uncertainty
quantification, reliability, sensitivity analyses and associated benefits with respect to a deterministic
approach. Practical applications including typical geotechnical problems (slope stability, foundation
bearing capacity, anchored wall, and tunnel in urban environment) will be discussed and solved using
UQLab ( and ZSOIL (

Target audience
Civil and geotechnical engineers from the practice, researchers


Practical information
Date and time: Thursday November 18th, 2021. 09h00-17h00
Place: HEIA-FR Bd Pérolles 80 CH-1705 Fribourg, or via Zoom
Language: English, with possible French/German translations when needed
Documentation: Each participant will get a set of notes

Regular: CHF 500 at HEIA-FR in Fribourg, or CHF 350 taught online via Zoom
Students: CHF 250 at HEIA-FR in Fribourg, or CHF 175 taught online via Zoom

Registration and payment
Please fill in form at, deadline: Nov. 4th, 2021
Payment details will be sent to you by e-mail after registration, deadline: Nov. 4th, 2021


Prof. Dr Bruno Sudret, Dr Stefano Marelli
Chair of Risk, Safety and Uncertainty Quantification
IBK – Institute of Structural Engineering, ETH Zürich
Prof. Dr Stéphane Commend
iTEC – Institut des Technologies de l’Environnement Construit
Filière de Génie Civil, HEIA Fribourg


09h00-09h15Welcome addressS. Commend
09h15-10h15Probabilistic approaches: framework and Monte Carlo simulationB. Sudret
10h30-11h30Surrogate modelsB. Sudret
11h45-12h45Application examples with UQLab, including deterministic vs. reliability-based designS. Marelli
12h45-14h00Discussion and 60’ break
14h00-15h15Probabilistic finite element applications 1: slope stabilities, foundation bearing capacityS. Commend
15h15-15h45Discussion and 15’ break
15h45-16h45Probabilistic finite element applications 2: tunnel, sheet-pile wallS. Commend
16h45-17h00Discussion and short course conclusionS. Commend