Whilst it is neither possible nor desirable to be exclusive about specific research themes, ten initial research themes have been identified, each with a dedicated theme leader(s). The research themes will form distinctive yet inter-linked and synergistic focus points for organising, promoting and conducting research to achieve the DCS objectives. The theme leaders will be proactive and take leadership in developing and coordinating research in their theme areas. They will be a first point of contact for research collaboration and project development in their areas of interest. The ten research themes and theme leaders are listed in the following table.
Theme leader: Jian-Bo Yang
This theme has three key research focuses: evidential reasoning decision analysis, belief rule based risk analysis, and performance assessment and planning. The first focus will build on our current strengths of research on multiple criteria decision analysis with both quantitative and qualitative information under uncertainty, which has been extensively supported by research councils and industry. This research will be focused on investigating the interrelationships between statistical decision-making and evidence-based decision-making. The ultimate goal is to develop an evidential reasoning decision analysis methodology and theory to support informed and robust decision making in a wide range of areas. The second research focus will be based on our current research projects funded by EPSRC and other bodies to provide generic frameworks, models, methods and tools to facilitate risk, safety and security analysis and decision making. In many social and engineering systems, it is difficult to estimate the likelihood of occurrence of a risk event, its direct impact and potential vulnerability. This is largely due to the need to analyse many factors that are often associated with various types of uncertainty such as subjectivity, incompleteness and even lack of understanding and data. The frameworks, models, methods and tools will be developed to help handle such uncertainties and applied to various areas such as supply chain risk and security assessment, dynamic clinical risk assessment, project risk assessment, financial risk analysis, corporate risk analysis, and early warning systems for social crises.
Theme leader: Andrew Howes
We have an established research strength in computational and mathematical models of human behaviour. Our focus is on people as adaptive decision makers: People choose actions, gather information and plan, under psychological constraints and in response to perceived utility. We apply computational models of decision making to real world problems so as to predict individual performance. This work has recently been sponsored by NASA and by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and is conducted in collaboration with the University of Michigan.
Theme leader: John Keane
The generation and capture of very large complex datasets (structured, semi-structured, unstructured) has led to commensurate need for more sophisticated analysis methods. Data mining is the process of extracting patterns from data. Data mining is becoming an increasingly important tool to transform this data into information. In turn, text mining refers to the process of deriving high-quality information from textual data.
Theme leader: Dong-Ling Xu & Weigang Wang
Built on our experience and strengths in the development of interactive web based applications, this research theme is aimed at developing a live web platform to showcase some of the most recent advancements in decision and cognitive sciences. The main activities are to explore the potential of applying the most advanced Internet technology to implement the theory, methodology, framework, techniques, ideas etc. developed by the members of the centre and beyond to support organisational and societal decision making. This includes
Theme leader: Simon French
Here in the UK and, indeed, across the world, there is a widespread push to involve the public in societal decision making. And it is not just in relation to national, regional and local government. Regulators and agencies at arm’s length from government are running more and more stakeholder workshops, citizen’s juries, etc. This is particularly the case in relation for societal risk management. However, while these developments have been explored and justified from many perspectives – political, philosophical, social, psychological, managerial, and so on – there has been less attention to the decision analytic perspective. How does one design a participation process to involve citizens and stakeholders truly in a societal decision and how does one evaluate its success?
Theme leader: Ludmil Mikhailov & Dong-Ling Xu
The area of Intelligent Decision Support Systems (IDSS) is interdisciplinary in nature, bridging Artificial Intelligence, Decision Science and Information Systems. Our research on IDSS focuses mainly on theoretical methods for multiple-criteria decision-making and application of intelligent technologies, such as expert systems, fuzzy logic systems and genetic algorithms. We are particularly interested in intelligent support to decision-making under uncertainty, based on the Dempster-Shafer evidence theory and fuzzy logic, and multiple objective optimisation by evolutionary computing. An important objective of our research is the application of those methods for the development of software tools for decision support.
Theme leader: Paul Jackson
This theme will examine decision making processes in situations where information is highly complex (many aspects which are interdependent), highly uncertain (fuzziness and unpredictability), and also dynamically updated. We will concentrate particularly on decision processes within teams, which may be top management teams or project teams. We will examine the consequences of differences in the cognitive models of team members (some scholars argue that diversity is a benefit, while others describe the problems which can arise from different cognitive models), the ways in which new knowledge can arise out of people working together in teams, the emergence of shared cognitive models within work teams and the consequences of this for team effectiveness, and ways in which decision support tools can facilitate effective decision making.
Theme leader: Oscar de Bruijn & Andrew Howes
Information Technologies provide opportunities for reshaping the work environment. Social Media provide tools with which people can maintain connectivity and, potentially, reap rewards associated with enhanced social capital and empowerment. Our approach to understanding the impact of these technologies focuses on the individual choosing how to maintain social and work relationships through technology. For example, we are investigating the role of reciprocal action and reputation in the maintenance of online communities and the way in which technologies might more directly support these key social functions. A crucial role in this is played by the ability of people to make sense of information and situations. This puts sensemaking research into the centre of what we are doing. In this respect we focus on the role of information visualisation and online personas in guiding decision making behaviour as key research areas for the theme.
Theme leader: Ser-Huang Poon
This theme has two key focuses: optimisation and simulations both underpinning important decisions in the finance industry. There are many financial decisions such as wealth-bench portfolio management and retirement pension plan that involve long horizon, multi-period non-linear constrained optimisation. The classical gradient search routines failed as corner solutions are abundant. The genetic algorithm search is too time consuming and not suited for practical application in the industry. Recently, we have some success in applying the “Belief Rule Based” algorithm in a 9-asset, 60-year portfolio optimisation that can benchmark against industry standard. The plan is to capitalise on this early success and apply BRB in more advanced problems.
The second research focus is to find practical solution to speed up risk measure calculation that involves simulations. The valuation of many financial structural products relies on simulation because of the number of stochastic variables involved and the complexity of the structure imposed. This makes the risk management of these structural products almost an impossible task, as stress testing (a typical regulatory required procedure in e.g. Basel) also involves simulations of scenarios. This theme will tackle the project from two angles. The first is to find mathematical approximation to by-pass the first-stage simulation. The second step is to find efficient schemes (from a statistical perspective or from a computer science perspective) to obtain the risk measures that are associated with these structural products.
Theme leader: Jian-Bo Yang, David Bamford and Andrew McMeekin
With the growing world population and increasingly scarce natural resources, it is paramount for organisations to measure and assess performance systematically and improve productivity, sustainability and innovation continually. In recent years, there has been increasing pressure for organisations to institutionalise measurement, assessment and improvement of performance, sustainability and innovation due to the convergence of two forces: (1) increased demand for accountability on the part of governing bodies, the media, and the public in general, and (2) a mounting commitment of managers and government agencies to focus on results and work more deliberately to strengthen performance, sustainability and innovation. This research theme is built on the DCS’s strengths in the theoretical and methodological research in these areas, which has been supported by EPSRC, EC and industry in the past, to conduct applied research focused on the following Alliance MBS priority areas.
The DCS management team consists of the Directors and Coordinators who are in charge of the day to day running of DCS. The management team and the theme leaders form the DCS management committee, which meets to set the policies and directions for DCS. The theme leaders are responsible for organising project meetings to initiate new research projects and manage existing research projects as appropriate.