Managing Uncertainty in Environmentally Benign Design and Manufacture
Bras, Berdinus A.
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When making design decisions in environmentally benign design and manufacture, the decision maker is often faced with extreme uncertainty. Due to a lack of understanding of the complex dynamics of environmental and societal systems, it is very difficult to judge the impact different design alternatives have on the environment, the economy and the society, especially in the distant future. In this paper, two formalisms are illustrated for making design decisions under extreme uncertainty. The formalisms are probability bounds analysis and info-gap decision theory. We introduce the basic concepts for both formalisms, discuss the advantages and limitations, and identify under which circumstances they are useful in the context of design decision making. One can think of both decision methods as having a built-in sensitivity analysis allowing the decision maker to judge whether a decision can be made confidently based on the current information, or whether additional information needs to be gathered.