Rice University

Events at Rice


Electrical and Computer Engineering
Dean of Engineering

Speaker: Yakov Ben-Haim
Yitzhak Moda'i Chair in Technology and Economics
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

ECE Seminar Series: The Innovation Dilemma in the Age of Technology: An Info-Gap Perspective, Yakov Ben-Haim (698/699)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017
4:00 PM  to 5:00 PM

1064  Duncan Hall
Rice University
6100 Main St
Houston, Texas, USA

The search for ever better outcomes should guide the decision maker in engineering design, as well as in project management, public policy, economics, national security, medicine and many other areas of human endeavor. However, uncertainty, ignorance, and surprise may jeopardize the achievement of optimal outcomes. The concept of an innovation dilemma assists in understanding and resolving the decision maker’s challenge. An innovative and highly promising new design is less familiar than a more standard approach whose implications are more familiar. The innovation, while purportedly better than the standard approach, may be much worse due to uncertainty about the innovation. The resolution (never unambiguous) of the dilemma results from analysis of robustness to surprise (related to resilience, redundancy, flexibility, etc.) and is based on info-gap decision theory. Info-gap theory provides decision-support tools for managing the challenges of planning and decision under severe uncertainty. We discuss the method of robustly satisfying critical requirements as a tool for protecting against pernicious uncertainty. We also describe the method of opportune windfalling as a tool for exploiting propitious uncertainty.

Biography of Yakov Ben-Haim:
Prof. Yakov Ben-Haim initiated and developed info-gap decision theory for modeling and managing severe uncertainty. Info-gap theory has impacted the fundamental understanding of uncertainty in human affairs, and is applied by scholars and practitioners around the world in engineering, biological conservation, economics, project management, climate change, natural hazard response, national security, medicine, and other areas (see info-gap.com). He has been a visiting scholar in many countries and has lectured at universities, technological and medical research institutions, public utilities and central banks. He has published more than 100 articles and 5 books. He is a professor of mechanical engineering and holds the Yitzhak Moda'i Chair in Technology and Economics at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.

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