The role and the attributes of, and the challenges in, predictive modeling of thermal stresses, strains and displacements in micro- and opto-electronic packaging are addressed. Merits, shortcomings and interaction of theoretical and experimental approaches are discussed, as well as the role and the interaction of the analytical (“mathematical”) and the numerical (computer-aided, primarily, finite-element) modeling. We briefly review the published work in the field, with an emphasis on the analytical modeling. The review is based, to a great extent, on the author’s work conducted during his eighteen years tenure with Bell Laboratories at Murray Hill, New Jersey. The “extension part” of the article is dedicated to the role that a probabilistic approach might play in understanding and predicting the effects of the variability in materials properties, structural geometry and loading conditions on the thermal stresses, strains and reliability of micro- and opto-electronic assembiles and structures, subjected to thermal loading. The main message of the article is that a viable and reliable micro- or opto-electronic component or device can be successfully created and delivered, as a product, to the market in a timely fashion only provided that predictive modeling, whether analytical or numerical, is widely and effectively employed. Modeling should be conducted in addition and, preferably, prior to the design effort, experimental investigations and accelerated (product development, qualification or life) testing. In this connection, we would like to point out that predictive modeling is also an essential part of the accelerated life testing methodologies and procedures. Another message is that probabilstic approaches could be very helpful in many problems of physical design of micro- and opto-electronic systems subjected to thermal loading.

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