Frontiers of Engineering Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering by National Academy of Engineering

By National Academy of Engineering

Papers from the 7th Annual Symposium on Frontiers of Engineering. Softcover.

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MULTIPLE OBJECTIVES Making trade-offs between conflicting, noncommensurate objectives is at the core of decision making. Uncertainty simply adds to the difficulty. For example, consider making decisions about aircraft safety. There is an inherent trade-off between the thoroughness of inspections of people and baggage and delays. The more carefully people and baggage are examined, the less likely a Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. html 42 CIVIL SYSTEMS Probability of x or less (CDF) Probability of x or less (CDF) 1 1 F(x) F(x) G(x) G(x) 0 0 x a.

Figure 2 illustrates a network with four links and estimated probability distributions for the time of arrival at each node. Notice that even with only four links, the arrival time at node four looks almost normally distributed. Therefore, all that is necessary is a procedure for propagating the mean and variance of arrival time at successive nodes. Travel Time a. Network with four links b. Arrival time FIGURE 2 Example of calculating travel time along a path. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences.

Interdependencies can reverberate perturbations globally. In 2001, 47 Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. html 48 CIVIL SYSTEMS for example, the real-life restructuring of California’s electricity industry demonstrated linked and unexpected effects. Fuel production, refining, and distribution were disrupted, sometimes cutting off fuel supplies to the very plants that should have been generating their electricity. Interruptions in water distribution affected the state’s agribusiness.

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