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Over the last 50 years reliability has come a long way, this is often due to the work of many minor figures and numerous small improvements in practice but as in any human endeavour there have been, and are, major figures with much influence and large forces for change and these will cause significant, sudden changes. Work has been carried out at the University of Warwick to understand the development of the philosophy that underpins much of what we as reliability professionals do. This work has enabled the construction of a timeline of change in a number of the fields and techniques of reliability. The timelines highlight the influences and identify the driving forces behind much of what we would now term the state of the art. This paper describes one of these timelines, the development of the linked fields of physics of failure and of reliability prediction. It is apparent to the authors that many industrial areas follow slightly different philosophies. These different philosophies may be identifiable at different points on the time line and may have led to parallel development. Work has therefore also taken place to position certain industries in their respective places and to examine the possible routes available to them for further development of reliability practice.
Date of Conference: 26-29 Jan. 2004