In this paper, we present a review of methods for design under uncertainty. Specifically, we examine Reliability-Based Design, Robust Design, and Risk-Informed Design from the perspective of utility theory. Although these methods account for uncertainty, they differ from utility theory in that they limit the types of preferences that can be expressed. Limitations on the types of preferences that can be expressed can be valuable to designers because they reduce the effort required to elicit preference. However, the value of these methods for a particular design scenario depends greatly on the appropriateness of the preference model they implicitly impose. As such, they should be used with caution; they should not be applied when the associated preference models are not reasonable approximations of the designer’s true preferences. To help designers decide when the methods are appropriate, we identify the preference models by formulating the methods in a common framework of utility theory. The methods are then critically examined and compared based on their costs and the value they add to the design process.

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