A framework for geometric quantification and forecasting of cost uncertainty for aerospace innovations

Oliver Schwabe, Essam Shehab, John Erkoyuncu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Quantification and forecasting of cost uncertainty for aerospace innovations is challenged by conditions of small data which arises out of having few measurement points, little prior experience, unknown history, low data quality, and conditions of deep uncertainty. Literature research suggests that no frameworks exist which specifically address cost estimation under such conditions. In order to provide contemporary cost estimating techniques with an innovative perspective for addressing such challenges a framework based on the principles of spatial geometry is described. The framework consists of a method for visualising cost uncertainty and a dependency model for quantifying and forecasting cost uncertainty. Cost uncertainty is declared to represent manifested and unintended future cost variance with a probability of 100% and an unknown quantity and innovative starting conditions considered to exist when no verified and accurate cost model is available. The shape of data is used as an organising principle and the attribute of geometrical symmetry of cost variance point clouds used for the quantification of cost uncertainty. The results of the investigation suggest that the uncertainty of a cost estimate at any future point in time may be determined by the geometric symmetry of the cost variance data in its point cloud form at the time of estimation. Recommendations for future research include using the framework to determine the “most likely values” of estimates in Monte Carlo simulations and generalising the dependency model introduced. Future work is also recommended to reduce the framework limitations noted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-47
Number of pages19
JournalProgress in Aerospace Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cost estimate
  • Geometry
  • Symmetry
  • Topology
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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