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ISAAP - Interactive Specification and Analysis of Aspiration-Based Preferences

Janusz Granat (
Marek Makowski (

Information about using the on-line help
The on-line help is documented in detail in Section 5.1. Here only a brief summary pertinent to using either the Netscape or the portable zHelp browser (only the text relevant to this browser is displayed below) for reading the electronic version of the report that documents the methodological background and the usage software is presented. The report is split into several dozens of pages, each corresponding to a section (or a subsection or a subsubsection) of the report. A page in this context means a piece of the report that is displayed in one window (which is scrollable, if the window is too small to display whole page). Longer (sub)sections are split into several pages in order to limit the length of each page. This note provides basic information on navigating through the report.

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An important part of a model based decision support is the process of decision selection. This process can be supported by Multi-Criteria Model Analysis ( MCMA). Most methods for  MCMA are based on interactions with the users who are supposed to state preferences with respect to a selection of an efficient solution. The present paper deals with the Aspiration-Reservation based approach to the specification of such preferences and with a graphical interface for interactive multi-criteria model analysis.

A modular software tool which supports this approach has been developed within the collaboration between the Risk, Modeling and Policy (formerly the Methodology of Decision Analysis) Project and the Institute of Control and Computation Engineering, Warsaw University of Technology. The tool has been applied at IIASA to two models examined in collaboration with the Water Resources and Land Use and Land Cover Change projects. It has also been applied to several engineering applications at the Warsaw University of Technology. The presented paper documents the tool and provides a tutorial for its use.

Model based Decision Support Systems ( DSS) often use multi-criteria optimization for selecting  Pareto-optimal solutions. Such a selection is based on interactive specification of user preferences. This can be done by specification of  aspiration and  reservation levels for criteria. Diverse graphical user interface could be used for the specification of these levels as well as for the interpretation of results. In the approach presented in this paper the specified  aspiration and reservation levels are used for generation of component achievement functions for corresponding criteria, which reflect the degree of satisfaction with given values of criteria.

The paper outlines the methodological background and modular structure of a tool (called  MCMA) for multi-criteria analysis of decision problems that can be represented as Linear Programming ( LP) or Mixed Integer Programming ( MIP) problems. The  MCMA has been used at IIASA for the analysis of decision problems in water quality management and land use for sustainable development planning. These experiences have shown that the  MCMA tool is applicable also to large LP and MIP problems. Other implementations of the same methodology have also been used for the analysis of non-linear problems in several engineering applications.

The current implementation of the modular software tool for interactive specification of user preferences is described in more detail. The presented methodology of multi-criteria model analysis and the documented software is illustrated by a detailed tutorial example.

Keywords: Multi-Criteria Optimization, Decision Support Systems, Interactive Specification of Preferences, Aspiration-Reservation Based Decision Support, Fuzzy Sets, Linear Programming, Mixed Integer Programming.

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Janusz Granat - Institute of Control and Computation Engineering
Marek Makowski - International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis