Managing Multiple Sources of Epistemic Uncertainty in Environmentally Benign Design and Manufacture

TitleManaging Multiple Sources of Epistemic Uncertainty in Environmentally Benign Design and Manufacture
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBras, B. A., and C. J. J. Paredis
Date PublishedJanuary
Abstract

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. We call such uncertainty due to a lack of knowledge epistemic uncertainty. If this lack of knowledge is significant, it may be advantageous to acquire additional information before making a design decision. In this paper, we develop a framework for identifying which sources of epistemic uncertainty should be reduced to improve the overall quality of the design decision. Using principles of information economics, utility theory, and probability bounds analysis, we determine how much additional information should be acquired for each uncertain quantity in the decision problem. Our approach is illustrated with an example for the environmentally benign design of an electric vehicle.

Submitted by cparedis on Tue, 12/03/2013 - 11:04pm