Publication Date



Technical Report: UTEP-CS-18-40

Published in Applied Mathematical Sciences, 2018, Vol. 12, No. 11, pp. 517-522.


In many cases, we need to select the best of the possible alternatives, but we do not know for sure which alternatives are possible and which are not possible. Instead, for each alternative x, we have a subjective probability p(x) that this alternative is possible. In 1970, Richard Bellman and Lotfi Zadeh proposed a heuristic method for selecting an alternative under such uncertainty. Interestingly, this method works very well in many practical applications, while similarly motivated alternative formulas do not work so well. In this paper, we explain the empirical success of the Bellman-Zadeh approach by showing that its formulas can be derived from the general decision theory recommendations.