Professor Michael Pecht accepts 2008 NSF Alexander Scharzkopf Prize for technological Innovation


On December 21, 2008, the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE) at the University of Maryland, College Park was awarded the Alexander Schwarzkopf Prize for Technological Innovation. The Schwarzkopf Prize is awarded to former and current National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers that have had a significant impact on the world. CALCE won the award for its research on physics-of-failure reliability analysis methods and advanced supply chain management concepts for electronic products and systems.

CALCE started as a National Science Foundation Center in 1985 and has evolved into a center that is funded by over 150 of the leading international electronics companies and organizations that provide over $6M per year for research. The reliance of modern technologies on complex electronics poses significant and growing challenges to managing life cycle risks. “From the annoyed customer at the ATM or the business traveler on a delayed flight, to dangerous malfunction of automobiles or the loss of $100 million satellites and aircraft, failure to adequately manage the life cycle of electronic systems touches everyone,” says George Dieter Chair Professor Michael Pecht, founder and director of CALCE, an IEEE Fellow, an ASME Fellow and an IMAPS Fellow, and recently given the highest reliability honor, the IEEE Reliability Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

CALCE has made significant contributions in:

  • Design for Reliability and Physics-based Reliability Assessment
  • Accelerated Test Methods
  • Industry Standards Development
  • Electronics Supply Chain Management
  • Reliability Analysis and Qualification
  • Life Cycle Management and Obsolescence Management
  • Prognostics and Health Management

CALCE has been a leader in the development of a number of best practices IEEE, JEDEC, GEIA, and IEC Standards. In addition, CALCE publications have affected a number of crucial industry standards, including:

  • IEEE 1332: Reliability Program Standard
  • IEEE 1624: Guide for Organizational Reliability Capability
  • IEEE 1413: Standard Methodology for Reliability Prediction and Assessment for Electronic Systems and Equipment
  • JEP 148: Reliability Qualification of Semiconductor Devices Based on Physics of Failure Risk and Opportunity Assessment
  • GEIA-STD-0005-2: Standard for Mitigating the Effects of Tin Whiskers in Aerospace and High Performance Electronic Systems
  • IEC/PAS 62240 (also released as GEIA 4900): Use of Semiconductor Devices Outside Manufacturers’ Specified Temperature Ranges

In the field of reliability analysis and qualification, CALCE processes and models have become standardized for physics-of-failure (PoF) based analyses of electronic systems. CALCE’s achievements in reliability analysis and qualification include the concept of organizational reliability as the measure of the effectiveness of an organization’s reliability program in terms of meeting customer requirements.

A range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, household, industrial, medical, and telecommunication, actively use CALCE software and accelerated testing approaches. Among organizations applying CALCE methods, the U.S. Army leads the way, creating and maintaining a PoF analysis group that uses calcePWA software and techniques to assess electronic designs for U.S. DoD programs. In one example application, analysis results from the calcePWA software were used to save $27 million in sustainment costs. NASA also applies CALCE PoF models in planning manned missions to the moon and Mars. International corporations such as Boeing, Daimler, General Electric, General Motors, and Vestas use CALCE PoF models to incorporate power electronic modules into products such as aircraft and hybrid vehicles.

CALCE is at the forefront of research in Prognostics and Health Management (PHM). CALCE formed the first collaborative research effort to address PHM applications. Through the work of their PHM Consortium, CALCE has developed a new paradigm for reliability prediction based on prognostics whereby sensor data is integrated into models that enable in-situ assessment of the deviation of a product from its expected normal operating condition. Additionally, CALCE has developed a prognostics roadmap that will be included in the ITRI semiconductor roadmap. In the field of Electronic Part Supply Chain Management, CALCE is the preeminent technical organization for thermal up-rating, counterfeit electronic part management, and electronic part obsolescence forecasting and management. CALCE developed the concept of up-rating, a process that mitigates the risk associated with using semiconductor devices outside manufacturer specifications. CALCE also developed the first quantitative analysis of lifetime buy sizes for electronic parts, which has allowed electronics integrators to reduce their stock inventories and save money.

CALCE’s parts management methodology forms the core of the Electronic Components Management Plan for the commercial avionics industry. CALCE has developed a number of methodologies, including obsolescence forecasting algorithms, which are used in leading tools and databases (i2, QTEC, PartMiner, and SiliconExpert). CALCE is also a leading supplier of tools and methodologies for strategic management of long field life systems. CALCE developed the most widely used methodology for managing electronic part obsolescence, which is employed by organizations such as Motorola, Northrop Grumman, and the U.S. DoD. For example, by applying CALCE methodologies, Motorola avoided $33 million in cost. Northrop Grumman was able to predict refresh dates for its F-22 radar 5 years earlier than previously possible.

CALCE researchers and faculty have also created a graduate-level electronic product and systems curriculum at the University of Maryland that has graduated over 250 engineers. In addition to the graduate program, CALCE also provides professional development courses and Web-based seminars to engineers working in the industry.

More information on CALCE can be found at

Michael Pecht , Ph.D.
Director: CALCE Electronic Products and Systems
George Dieter Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Professor of Applied Mathematics (prognostics for electronics)
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland 20742 USA