Author Archives: Edoardo Borgomeo

Embracing Uncertainty for Better Decision-Making

by Laura Tuck and Julie Rozenberg, Sustainable Development Practice Group, World Bank Group

We all face uncertainties.

What if the train’s late? What if it rains? What if traffic is bad? What if there’s a shift in government before the project starts?

Every day we’re hit by all the “what ifs” especially in our line of work at the World Bank Group, whether in the field or within our organization. But how do we best cope with this? Embracing uncertainties may be the answer.

The World Bank Group has been at the forefront of mainstreaming new methods to deal with uncertainties. In fact, you may not know this, but the World Bank is one of the founding members of the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty.

Today’s decision makers face conditions of fast-paced, transformative, and often surprising change. Traditional decision analysis relies on point and probabilistic predictions. But under conditions of deep uncertainty, predictions are often wrong, and relying on them can prove costly and dangerous. Fortunately, new methods and processes now exist to help decision makers identify and evaluate robust and adaptive strategies, thereby making sound decisions in the face of these challenges. Continue reading

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A Matlab toolbox for designing Multi-Objective Optimal Operations of water reservoir systems

M. Giuliani, , Y. Li, A. Cominola, S. Denaro, E. Mason, A. Castelletti.

Water reservoir operations have great potential for contributing positively to the development of different socio-economic sectors as well as for reducing the vulnerabilities of water systems caused by changing hydroclimatic and anthropogenic forcing. This motivates the search for advanced, flexible, and open tools supporting the design of operating policies capable of meeting multiple competing objectives. This work contributes the Multi-Objective Optimal Operations (M3O) Matlab toolbox, which allows users to design Pareto optimal (or approximate) operating policies for managing water reservoir systems through several alternative state-of-the-art methods. Version 1.0 of M3O includes Deterministic and Stochastic Dynamic Programming, Implicit Stochastic Optimization, Sampling Stochastic Dynamic Programming, fitted Q-iteration, Evolutionary Multi-Objective Direct Policy Search, and Model Predictive Control. The toolbox is designed to be accessible to practitioners, researchers, and students, and to provide a fully commented and customizable code for more experienced users.

The study is available here.

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Rules and Processes of the Society

The Leadership Team has drafted and discussed the Rules and Processes document for the Society. The document forms the basis of the operations of the Society and describes, amongst others, membership procedures, the responsibilities and duties of the Leadership Team and the election process.
 
The procedure for adoption of the Society’s Rules and Processes is as follows:
  • The document is available for download Rules_DMDU
  • Comments can be sent to dmdu.rules[at]gmail.com.
  • The Leadership Team will discuss the comments from the members in the September meeting of the team and the draft document will be updated to a final draft. An overview of all comments will be posted on the Society’s website.
  • The Leadership Team will have a final discussion on the final draft document and adopt the document as Provisional Rules & Processes that will be used for the elections.
With this procedure the Leadership Team hopes to have found a balance between efficiency, practicality and participation of the members in developing the Rules and Processes for the Society.
 
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Report from Session B5 on “Managing Uncertainty” at the 8th International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software

by Joseph Guillaume

At the iEMSs2016 conference in Toulouse, the session on Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty (see blog report) was accompanied by a more generic one on “Managing Uncertainty”, organised by Joseph Guillaume (Aalto University), Tony Jakeman (Australian National University), Holger Maier (The University of Adelaide), Jiri Nossent (Flanders Hydraulics Research and Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Evelina Trutnevyte (ETH Zurich).

The session emphasised the diversity of approaches for managing uncertainty. Contributions notably covered sensitivity analysis, scenario analysis, parameter estimation and uncertainty quantification. While not directly tied to Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty, it is important to remember that these techniques form the foundations of our analyses – the means of addressing any uncertainty that is not treated as deep. As argued in a recent publication in Environmental Modelling and Software (Maier at al. 2016), multiple paradigms for modelling the future tend to co-exist, with different parts of an analysis focussed on capturing best available knowledge, quantifying uncertainty, and exploring multiple plausible futures. Continue reading

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Deep Uncertainty at the International Congress on Environmental Modeling and Software

by Rob Lempert and Jan Kwakkel,

The 8th International Congress on Environmental Modeling and Software in Toulouse, France, on July 10-14, 2016, featured a track titled Advancing in Environmental Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty: Emerging Tools and Challenges. The track was co-organized by Jan Kwakkel (Delft University of Technology), Patrick Reed (Cornell), Robert Lempert (RAND Corporation), and Marjolijn Haasnoot (Deltares). The track consisted of four sessions with four papers in each session.

Continue reading

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EPSRC Decision Making Under Uncertainty – London Meeting

EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC and NERC are leading on behalf of all research councils a workshop which aims to initiate the building of a cross cutting multidisciplinary community focussed on decision making under uncertainty. The workshop will involve presentations by a number of key speakers in this area and will provide further information in regards to the aspirations for the network.

The research councils anticipate that a call for networks in this area will go live shortly. The purpose of this call will be to develop and build widespread linkages between disciplines related to decision making under uncertainty and to grow a multi-disciplinary community in this space. The network(s) will be expected to work with user organisations to analyse real world systems and identify where multi-disciplinary research can develop new approaches to improve decision making under uncertainty.

For more information about decision making under uncertainty, please refer to the scoping reports from the following events;EPSRC-led ‘Defining a research strategy for uncertainty‘ roundtable (September 2015), the RCUK Risk workshop (March 2015), the Dstl-sponsored “Calculating and Communicating Uncertainty” conference (January 2015), the EPSRC Maths for Public Policy series of events (2014/2015), the Government Chief Scientific Advisor’s report “Innovation: Managing Risk, Not Avoiding it” (2014) and Imperial College-led “Decision Making Under Risk and Uncertainty” workshop.

Examples of disciplines we are seeking to engage include Applied Mathematics, Engineering, Operational Research, Economics, Finance, Environmental Science, Management Science, Arts and Humanities, Political Science, Computer Science, Psychology, Risk, Medical Informatics, Statistics and Applied Probability, Data Science and Information Science.

Examples of topics that we would expect to be addressed include algorithms, data science, decision making, sensors, forecasting, risk management, financial regulation, consumer behaviour, heuristics, macroeconomic modelling, multi-scale/multiphysics modelling, engineering design, visualisation, large scale manufacturing, climate change, energy challenges and natural hazards.

Please register to attend using the form below and ensure that you provide your contact details alongside a key challenge area you are interested in discussing in order to facilitate networking at the event.

We will endeavour to have representation at this event from a breadth of disciplines, institutes and organisations. Therefore, places at the event may be limited. However, attendance at the event is not compulsory in order to be involved in any future network.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest to attend this event is Friday 06 May at 17:00.

 

More information can be found here.

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