Ben-Haim, Yakov 1952–

views updated

Ben-Haim, Yakov 1952–

PERSONAL: Born James B. Moulton, October 7, 1952, in Chicago, IL; son of John Paul and Muriel Moulton; married Miriam Rivka (a systems programmer), July 31, 1976; children: Avi, Eitan, Rafael. Education: Beloit College, B.A., 1973; University of California at Berkeley, M.Sc., 1978, Ph.D., 1978.

ADDRESSES: Office—Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 32000 Israel; fax: 972-4-829-3262. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Mechanical engineer, educator, and writer. Technion Israel—Institute of Technology, Technicon City, Haifa, lecturer, 1978–85, senior lecturer, 1985–89, associate professor, 1989–98, professor of mechanical engineering, 1998–.

MEMBER: Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellow, 1992; Japan Society for the Promotion of Science fellow.


(With Isaac Elishakof) The Assay of Spatially Random Material, Reidel (Boston, MA), 1985.

Convex Models of Uncertainty in Applied Mechanics, Elsevier (New York, NY), 1990.

Robust Reliability in the Mechanical Sciences, Springer (New York, NY), 1996.

(Editor and contributor, with H.G. Natke) Uncertainty: Models and Measures, Akademie-Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1997.

Information-Gap Decision Theory: Decisions under Severe Uncertainty, Academic Press (San Diego, CA), 2001.

Contributor to books, including Engineering Design Reliability Handbook, edited by E. Nikolaides and D. Ghiocel, CRC; and Susan Hack: The Philosopher Responds to Critics, edited by Cornelis de Waal, Prometheus Books. Contributor to academic journals, including Journal of Risk Finance, American Naturalist, Journal of Sound and Vibration, Advances in Applied Mechanicals, Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, International Journal of Systems Science, Ecological Applications Applied Mathematics and Computation, and Journal of the Franklin Institute. Editorial board member, Probabilistic Engineering Mechanics, 2000–.

SIDELIGHTS: Yakov Ben-Haim is a mechanical engineer, a professor, and the author of several theoretical engineering books. In his book Information-Gap Decision Theory: Decisions under Severe Uncertainty, the author presents a new theory of decision making that he calls the "info-gap" theory. The theory addresses the problem of a serious lack of information and uncertainty in the decision-making process as it applies to open-ended situations. "The central emphasis of information-gap decision theory is that decisions under severe uncertainty must not demand more information, or at least not much more, than the decision maker can reliably supply," wrote D. Sipper in a review for Interfaces. The reviewer went on to note that Ben-Haim "focuses on how to make good decisions based on very sparse information." Ben-Haim also discusses many specific areas for which the theory can be applied, including economics, project management, strategic planning, environmental management, medical decisions, and risk assessment. In the process, he addresses many of the problems and questions of classical decision analysis, including gambling, trade-off analysis, and the value of information. The book's final chapter includes groups of problems to illustrate how the information-gap theory can be applied. Sipper commented that the author "writes clearly and concisely, and the book is a pleasure to read," and added: "In conclusion, this is a very comprehensive, focused, and interesting book" written by an author who "knows what he is talking about and probably has a wealth of knowledge from which we could all learn."



Interfaces, May-June, 2003, D. Sipper, review of Information-Gap Decision Theory: Decisions under Severe Uncertainty, p. 85.

SIAM Review, June, 1993, P. Panagiotopoulos, review of Convex Models of Uncertainty in Applied Mechanics, p. 331.


Beloit College Magazine Online,∼belmag/. (October 22, 2005), review of Information-Gap Decision Theory.

Technion—Israel Institute of Technology Web site, (May 10, 2006), information about Ben-Haim.