Table of Contents
International Journal of Quality, Statistics, and Reliability
Volume 2012, Article ID 617481, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/617481
Research Article

Epistemic Uncertainty Analysis: An Approach Using Expert Judgment and Evidential Credibility

Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department, Old Dominion University, Kaufman Hall, Room 241, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA

Received 17 May 2012; Accepted 2 October 2012

Academic Editor: Tadashi Dohi

Copyright © 2012 Patrick Hester. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

When dealing with complex systems, all decision making occurs under some level of uncertainty. This is due to the physical attributes of the system being analyzed, the environment in which the system operates, and the individuals which operate the system. Techniques for decision making that rely on traditional probability theory have been extensively pursued to incorporate these inherent aleatory uncertainties. However, complex problems also typically include epistemic uncertainties that result from lack of knowledge. These problems are fundamentally different and cannot be addressed in the same fashion. In these instances, decision makers typically use subject matter expert judgment to assist in the analysis of uncertainty. The difficulty with expert analysis, however, is in assessing the accuracy of the expert's input. The credibility of different information can vary widely depending on the expert’s familiarity with the subject matter and their intentional (i.e., a preference for one alternative over another) and unintentional biases (heuristics, anchoring, etc.). This paper proposes the metric of evidential credibility to deal with this issue. The proposed approach is ultimately demonstrated on an example problem concerned with the estimation of aircraft maintenance times for the Turkish Air Force.