Open World Problems in Structural Reliability

by David Ian Blockley, Univ of Bristol, United Kingdom,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Structural Safety and Reliability


A closed world model represents total knowledge about everything in a particular system. An open world model represents partial knowledge where some things are known to be true, some are known to be false, some are unknown and some are inconsistent. In the paper problems are classified into four types involving decision making under certainty, risk, risk with vagueness, and partial (open) knowledge. It is argued that many structural failures are due to unintended and unforeseen consequences. In order to develop a structural reliability theory to deal with these types of failure, the problems of open world modelling need to be addressed. The theories of support logic and interval probability theory are introduced and their potential as a basis for a new theory of structural reliability is discussed.

Subject Headings: Structural reliability | Failure analysis | Structural failures | Probability | Structural models | Wood structures | Computer programming | Risk management

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