Entropy Constructed Probabilities

by Colin B. Brown, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Washington, Seattle, Wash.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Engineering Mechanics Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 4, Pg. 633-640

Document Type: Journal Paper


Objective and subjective information are separately modeled as entropies. For the objective case, the information in considered as uncertain and information entropy is used; from this, probabilities are generated by the principle of maximum entropy. Subjective ideas are considered as imprecise rather than uncertain, and a measure for these is obtained by the construction of a fuzzy entropy. These two entropies embody countable information and mental wisdom. The former leads to objective probabilities which will usually be altered by the latter. To facilitate this, the two entropies are combined. This leads to a revised probability which takes into account both objective and subjective information. An example is used to illustrate the method. This involves deciding on the concrete strength in a structure in the light of cylinder tests, and professional wisdom concerning the actual construction, contractor, weather and other matters. Here the objective probability is found from the cylinder tests, and this is modified by engineering judgment.

Subject Headings: Entropy methods | Probability | Structural strength | Cylinders | Fuzzy sets | Strength of materials | Concrete structures | Concrete construction

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