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Review Article

An Overview of Uncertainty Concepts Related to Mechanical and Civil Engineering

[+] Author and Article Information
Ross B. Corotis

Professor Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering,
University of Colorado,
428 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309
e-mail: corotis@colorado.edu

Manuscript received September 26, 2014; final manuscript received February 3, 2015; published online October 2, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Alba Sofi.

ASME J. Risk Uncertainty Part B 1(4), 040801 (Oct 02, 2015) (12 pages) Paper No: RISK-14-1062; doi: 10.1115/1.4030461 History: Received September 26, 2014; Accepted April 27, 2015; Online October 02, 2015

Infrastructure decisions reflect multiple social, political, and economic aspects of society, leading to information/partial knowledge and uncertainty in many forms. Alternatives to classical probability theory may be better suited to situations involving partial information, especially when the sources and nature of the uncertainty are disparate. Methods under the umbrella of generalized information theory enhance the treatment of uncertainty by incorporating notions of belief, evidence, fuzziness, possibility, ignorance, interactivity, and linguistic information. This paper presents an overview of some of these theories and examines the use of alternate mathematical approaches in the treatment of uncertainty, with structural engineering examples.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Expansion of traditional probability theory along the two axes of language and measurement

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Alpha-cuts illustrated for a fuzzy set A ˜

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Identified areas which may contain artifacts and region of favorable soil A (indicated by the dashed line)

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