approach to decision making and support
Decision making processes and systems to support the same has focused for the most part, either on an optimizing or a satisficing approach. Apart from this most decision processes and systems are capable of being used to solve problems in very narrow domains and/or paradigms.
To address these problems we first synthesise ideas from Simon, Argyris, Schön, Langley, Holtzman, and others on decision making and propose a Cyclical Modelling Process. We further develop a flexible object-oriented decision system (FOODS) framework and architecture that support the proposed process.
Some of the key concepts that we have been able to explore and implement are generic modelling ideas such as data-model, model-solver, solver-visualisation, and data-visualisation independences. Specifically we have been able to explore the integration of models of different types, levels of complexity, depths of integration (aggregation, pipelining, and splicing) and orientations (satisficing as well as optimising).
The one-dimensional cutting stock domain with its richness in terms of models as well as complexity has been ideal in highlighting and exploring many of these ideas. A prototypical system that illustrated the cyclical modelling process as well as the FOODS framework and architecture was implemented using JADE (an object oriented database and programming environment) and Visual Basic.