The history of λμ (Lambda Mu) symposium started in the late 1950s when reliability emerged as a discipline of its own. At that time, the US scientific community and engineers were the first to understand that reliability was an important issue to address when dealing with complex technical systems, systems which included for instance enormous computers, electronic telephone switchboards dealing with quantities of calls, sophisticated weapon systems, rockets, satellites....
Therefore, they encourafged US authorities to create dedicated entities that will be in charge of setting up actions to take into account the reliability parameter. In France, such an entity emerge in 1962 through the Centre de Fiabilité du CNET, while the reliability term was accepted by the French Academy of Sciences.
Over time, as knowledge acquired in reliability science was more and more growing up, these scientists and engineers, involved in complex systems design and management, felt the neeed to gather grew up as well. Hence, a first meeting took place in Grenoble in 1968 under the name "International Symposium on Space Electronic Components Reliability".
Other events were held in the years that followed. They were especially supported by CNET (National Center for Telecommunications), CNES (National Center of Spatial Studies) and CEA/DAM (Atomic Energy Commission/ Division of Military Applications ) as well as SEE (Electronic and Electrician Society).
From the early 1972, the symposium extended its scope, going beyond basic component reliability to include more widely reliability theory, mathematical developments, test plans. Later on, other notions related to reliability have been taken into account: maintainability, availability, safety...
In 1978, replacing National Symposium of reliability and Maintainability, the symposium was renamed λμ symposium after the greek letters λ (the failure rate in reliability theory, representing reliability) and μ (the repair rate representing maintenability). It was decided that it would be a biennial symposium, taking place during the even years. The first λμ symposium (λμ 1) was held in Paris in 1978, in UNESCO location.
Subsequent editions took place at different locations in France: Perros-Guirrec (λμ 2), then Toulouse (λμ 3), and Perros-Guirrec (λμ ), then Biarritz (λμ 5), Strasbourg (λμ 6), Brest (λμ 7), Grenoble (λμ 8), La Baule (λμ 9), Saint-Malo (λμ 10), Arcachon (λμ 11), Montpellier (λμ 2), Lyon (λμ 13), Bourges (λμ 14), Lille (λμ 15), Avignon (λμ 16), La Rochelle (λμ 17) and Tours (λμ 18).
The symposium content has evolved with time. The reliability of electronic components, that was the focus of first editions, was progressively suplemented with human reliability, organizanion impact or even risk management.
λμ symposium audience, primarily mostly French at the beginning, has also evolved to a more global attendance as people register from Europe and the whole world. The symposium is now definitely international, jointly sessions with other organinisms are often set up such as the one with ESRA– European Safety and Reliability Association held in 2002.
In parallel to the λμ evolution, the dependability and risk management organization in France also evolved. From Reliability Center in 1962, ISdF (Institute of Dependability) was created in 1990, replaced by MdR-SdF (Institute for Risk Management and Dependability) in 2002 to finally become IMdR (Risk Management Institute) in 2006.
After lSDF dissolution , the French Risk Management Institute, namely IMdR (Institut pour la Maîtrise des Risques et la Sûreté de Fonctionnement) which succeeded, ensures since 2003 the entire responsability of the symposium with the help of financial partners who accepted to carry on the adventure.
The symposia improved with time: to oral conferences were added "tutorials", specific workshops, an exhibition with stands and demonstrations, awards ( Golden λμ ).
Presently, each symposium is comprehensive with hundreds of specialists (or interested persons as well) who find interest to learn and exchange.