Meet Shao-Peng, an Engineer who enjoys applying engineering skills to volleyball analysis.

Shao-Peng Chen

Year in Program

5th year Ph.D. candidate in Reliability Engineering


Dr. Peter Sandborn

Research Interests

Life-cycle cost modeling, system openness, maintenance policy optimization, inventory modeling, discrete-event simulation

Dissertation Topic

 Analysis of the Life-Cycle Cost and Capability Tradeoffs Associated with the Procurement and Sustainment of Open Systems

What drew you to engineering?

For me, the field of engineering aligns perfectly with my personality and interests. I am drawn to the idea of using scientific principles to tackle real-world challenges. Engineering is a process that involves applying the rules of physics, using mathematics to build models, and ultimately creating products or solving practical problems. I have a fondness for mathematics and find great satisfaction in deriving equations. Plus, I appreciate things that can be visualized or physically manipulated, and I enjoy creating hand-made projects so that I can actually “see” the results. Pursuing engineering studies allows me to explore and fulfill all these preferences.

What made you decide to come to UMD and attend the Reliability Engineering (ENRE) Program?

It all started when I was working as a Mechanical Engineer in Taiwan and got the chance to work on a project related to reliability. We were trying to fix the accuracy issues of a CNC machine, and the idea of using probability to understand the world was truly fascinating to me. It dawned on me that the world isn't just deterministic, and uncertainty plays a huge role in it. I realized that I wanted to dive deeper into this area of study. That's when I began researching graduate schools and discovered that UMD had a comprehensive program on reliability engineering. I believed that this program would provide me with the systematical education that I needed to develop my knowledge and skills in reliability engineering. I am glad I made this decision!

What do you want people to know about Reliability Engineering that they may not know?

I would want people to know that reliability engineering may not sound fancy but is crucial to our everyday lives. Reliability engineering is essentially the study of failure and failures occur in everything, everywhere, every day. We study WHY things fail WHEN they fail, and HOW we can harness this knowledge to our advantage in the real world. For instance, the development of maintenance policies for complex systems and the design of warranties for products are both based on reliability engineering principles. The bottom line is that reliability engineering is all about making things work better and more reliably, and that's something that impacts all of us on a daily basis.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I am a volleyball maniac! When I'm not doing research, I spend a lot of time playing volleyball both indoors and outdoors, on grass and sand courts, basically any kind of volleyball you can think of. I also enjoy applying engineering skills to volleyball analysis. I developed a framework that collects movement data from videos and utilizes an algorithm to evaluate players' performance.