Decisions under Uncertainty: Probabilistic Analysis for Engineering Decisions

By Dr. Ian Jordaan

Decisions under Uncertainty: Probabilistic Analysis for Engineering Decisions

This book grew out of the lifetime experiences in engineering of Dr. Ian Jordaan, university research professor with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial. It has just been published by Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England. The book was conceived about 20 years ago. The theme of decision-making is based on two related concepts: probability and utility. A subjective approach to both of these concepts is taken: probability as a matter of judgment and utility expressing our desires.

Extremes, optimization, games and entropy are given expository treatments, and all are discussed within the context of decision-making. Engineers have to deal with events such as the extreme iceberg load at a given location, or the weakest link in a chain or structural system. These are modeled as extreme events: systems must be designed to resist them. Entropy is derived from information theory and shown to lead to applications in physical theory; other applications are also reviewed. Situations of conflict and competition are dealt with using game theory. Design of engineered systems often requires techniques of optimization to be applied, and these are also used in solving problems in game theory and entropy maximization.

Dr. Ian Jordaan

Risk assessment is a critical part of every engineer’s life, whether it is simply to determine the likelihood of failure of a new product within the warranty period, or the potential cost, human and financial, of the catastrophic failure of a bridge. The book helps the reader to understand the tradeoffs between time, costs and risk in an engineering setting, and includes a wide range of case studies and worked examples. It introduces the basic theory and covers all of the most widely used mathematical techniques likely to be encountered in real engineering projects.

The cover and many illustrations within the book were designed by well-known Newfoundland artist Grant Boland.