Decision Analysis

5 Ways to Celebrate the 50th Birthday of Decision Analysis!

Get your party hats out folks. Fifty years ago our DA forefathers, Howard Raiffa and Ron Howard, independently established the field of decision analysis as it is practiced today in thousands of companies and universities across the globe. For those of you who aren't in the know, Decision Analysis, put simply, is a formal method for making decisions.

5 Ways to Screw Up a Decision Analysis Project

(Or, how about just a little bit of process to go with that gorgeous decision tree?)

Personally, I've always loved a beautiful model, whether it's based on decision trees, Monte Carlo, dynamic programming, or any other quantitative method. I've made a few beautiful models myself, and have admired many more created by colleagues and DPL users. However, fairly early on in my career I began to notice that the correlation between the beauty of a model and the success of a project (as measured on the armchair decision quality index) was quite small.

Big Data and Decision Analysis: From Data to Information to Decision Quality

Most decision analysts greet "Big Data" with considerable scepticism. Eyes roll, arms are crossed, someone mumbles something about driving while looking in the rear view mirror. It's safe to say Big Data hasn't been welcomed with open arms by the DA community.

When some new/rebranded management science thing comes along, we can react in one of several ways:

   0. This thing is worthless rubbish.
   1. This thing isn't new, we've been doing this all along.

When is a Decision Analysis Model Too Simple?

I'm often asked to comment on or critique someone else's decision analysis model, and I'm actually happy to do so. The space of models is vast, and with each new one there's always the possibility I'll discover something truly new, a flavor of uncertainty or unusual approach to capturing it that I've never thought about before. (Matter of taste I guess ... some people prefer baseball statistics.) Most of the time I'm able to offer suggestions that might improve the model.

As a matter of policy I don't offer an opinion about whether a model is "correct".

The Ramsey Medal and the Decision Analysis "Duck Test"

The Decision Analysis Society of INFORMS awards the Frank P. Ramsey Medal each year. "The Ramsey" is the highest honor given by the DAS, and receiving it is a sign of a superlative Decision Analysis career. In Minneapolis this past October, the award was given to Peter P. Wakker.

Counting down to the INFORMS annual meeting

The INFORMS Annual Meeting, or more specifically the track of technical sessions sponsored by the Decision Analysis Society, constitutes the largest assembly of Decision Analysis researchers and practitioners in the world. This is important for a company like Syncopation because decision analysts (and related professionals) tend to be spread thinly across academia and industry, and there are few opportunities to find a large number of them in one place.


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