Use of Probability of Success as an Independent Variable for Decision-Making
Frits, Andrew P.
Mavris, Dimitri N.
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Early phases of design are characterized by risk and uncertainty. Appropriate accounting for this uncertainty is an important requirement for any designer. This work suggests collapsing risk and uncertainty into a single metric called the probability of success, which accounts for the probability of a given design simultaneously meeting all of the design requirements. Optimal or lowest cost designs can then be found for various levels of probability of success. These designs can be compared to each other, creating a trade-off between the cost of a design and its risk. These risk versus cost figures can be generated before a decision-maker commits to the design. Thus, the decision-maker will have all the information regarding the cost and risk of potential designs before making any design decisions. The decision-maker can thus treat the probability of success, or risk, as an independent variable, choosing the level of risk that he or she finds acceptable based upon the cost of the system, with the corresponding