Category Archives: Blogs

First Annual Training Day on DMDU methods

by: Steven Popper

The Society for Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty held its first annual training day event on 15 November 2016 at World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC. This was the day prior to the start of the DMDU Society’s annual two-day workshop. The Society’s leadership team has decided that a training day will precede future DMDU workshops under the direction of the chair for education and training in coordination with that year’s workshop organizing committee. This decision is a direct response to an interest expressed through the questionnaire on education and training distributed to the Society’s membership earlier in 2016. The survey disclosed not only an interest in such a session but a willingness to participate on the part of students, DMDU analysts and methodologists, and policy practitioners.

This year’s training day planning team was led by the current chair, Steven Popper (RAND) with considerable assistance from the chair for Communication and Outreach, Marjolijn Haasnoot (Deltares). The day was designed to serve several purposes: to provide first-time workshop attendees with sufficient background on key DMDU concepts to participate in the topical sessions planned for the annual workshop’s following two days; to create a common forum for discussions among students, scholars and practitioners; to create face-to-face engagement between methodologists and those interested in learning DMDU methods; and for the first time present a common vocabulary and framework for comprehending the quickly proliferating world of DMDU technique and application.

The main themes that wove the entire day together were DMDU concepts, DMDU methods and DMDU in application. Steven Popper introduced the day and then assisted Marjolijn Haasnoot in presenting an interactive exercise/game designed by her and her Deltares colleagues. The purpose was to engage all participants as a group in gaining a practical understanding of the principal tenets and themes of DMDU analysis. This was then followed by Steven Popper presenting a preliminary nine-step framework by which to characterize the purpose and outcomes of various methods that would later be presented.
These preliminaries before lunch set the stage for two hours of DMDU technique and applications demos afterward. Building upon the success of a similar event organized by the organizing committee of 2015’s DMDU Workshop at Deltares and TU Delft in the Netherlands, six teams presented a 30-minute session four times each across the two-hour demo time slot. This meant that attendees could select those of most interest to them and be assured of receiving a full presentation in a systematic manner. Doing so called for great effort on the part of the presenting teams: Decision Scaling – Casey Brown (U Massachusetts); Dynamic Adaptive Policy Pathways – Marjolijn Haasnoot; Many Objective Robust Decision Making Using OpenMORDM – David Hadka (Penn State); Strategic Infrastructure System Investment Analysis – Anthony Hurford and Dr Evgenii Matrosov (Manchester U); DMDU Tools for Delta Planning – David Groves (RAND); and Exploratory Modeling Analyst’s Workbench – Jan Kwakkel (TU Delft.)

The day concluded with two further presentations. The first, organized by Vincent Marchau (Radboud U) and Warren Walker (TU Delft), allowed those authors contributing to a new edited volume sponsored by the Society to give very brief presentations on the book’s chapters. The book under preparation, DECISIONMAKING UNDER DEEP UNCERTAINTY – FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE (Marchau, Walker, Bloemen, Popper (eds.); Springer Verlag, forthcoming) is designed to be a unified textbook on DMDU techniques and applications. This was then followed by a final panel discussion intended for interactive engagement with training day participants. James Hall (Oxford U), chair of the 2017 DMDU Workshop organizing committee, along with Robert Lempert (RAND) and Jan Kwakkel, the Society’s current president and vice president, led a discussion on “What is in the DMDU analyst’s tool kit?” This served also as the general Q&A session to wrap up the training day.

The response to this program was positive on the part of the participants as well as the presenters. Planning is currently underway by the Society’s leadership team to incorporate the lessons of this first effort and present a suitably modified and improved version in November 2017 at the 5th annual DMDU Workshop scheduled for Oxford University. As in Washington, the current intention is to open participation not only to those who will be attending the subsequent workshop but also on a limited basis to outsiders with an interest in learning more about DMDU analysis in both theory and practice.

Suggestions for further reading (to be elaborated):

Hadka, D., Herman, J., Reed, P.M., Keller, K. (2015) “An Open Source Framework for Many-Objective Robust Decision Making”, Environmental Modelling & Software, v74, 114-129, 2015.

Haasnoot, M., J.H. Kwakkel., W.E. Walker, J.M ter Maat (2013) Dynamic adaptive policy pathways: A method for crafting robust decisions for a deeply uncertain world. Global Environmental Change, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2012.12.006

Kwakkel, J.H. Exploratory Modeling Analysis Workbench. http://simulation.tbm.tudelft.nl/ema-workbench/contents.html

Brown, C., Y. Ghile, M. Laverty, and K. Li (2012), Decision scaling: Linking bottom-up vulnerability analysis with climate
projections in the water sector, Water Resour. Res., 48, W09537, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011WR011212 
Dare to share!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Leave a Comment

Filed under annual-meeting, Blogs

Deep Uncertainty and the Long-Term: Time, the policy challenge and enablers for policy persistence

by Judy Lawrence and Robert Lempert

At the conclusion of the DMDU workshop at Deltares, The Netherlands in 2015, we identified political scientists as an additional group that could inform the discussions at the next annual workshop. Accordingly, we designed a problem session at the annual workshop at the World Bank in 2016, entitled: Deep Uncertainty and the Long-Term: Time, the policy challenge and enablers for policy persistence. Whether or not decision makers consider the implications of their decisions for future generations under changing conditions depends on a range of institutional, political, behavioural and ethical factors. One of these is the extent to which policy decisions are influenced by short-termism or presentist bias. This in turn, depends on the political context within which decisions are made.

Tools developed for decision making under conditions of uncertainty and change, need to be ‘fit’ for the changing environment and for the political context, to enable policies to persist over time and adapt to changing conditions. Or the political context could be changed using commitment devices. Thus, for successful implementation of policies that can persist over the long term or be adjusted as the world changes, we need to understand the drivers that motivate the actors.

Continue reading

Dare to share!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

2 Comments

Filed under annual-meeting, Blogs

What are the topics of this year’s annual meeting? A word cloud

by  Marjolijn Haasnoot, Laura Bonzanigo

Tomorrow we will start our 4th annual meeting of the Society for Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty. Like last year we made word cloud of the titles of the presentation, abstract and posters.  As expected ‘uncertainty’ is one of the most frequent words this year. However, this has not always been the case. If you look back at the word clouds from previous meetings (see picture below), you see this pops up in the second meeting, and in the third meeting this becomes DEEP uncertainty. Is uncertainty increasing?
Regarding the policy domains and topics that are addressed ‘infrastructure’ and ‘climate’ stand out in this year’s meeting. The topic of ‘water’ follows after that. In previous years water was more present, while in the first meeting that was less of a clear policy topic that stood out. ‘Climate’ as topic for deep uncertainty has always been there, although less apparent in the titles of last years meeting. You might also notice a change from ‘robust decision making/analysis’ in the first meeting towards ‘adaptation/adaptive decision making’. The most outstanding difference the infrastructure in this year’s meeting. We are very much looking forward to hear more …

wordle-all-years

Word clouds are made with: http://www.wordle.net/create

 

Dare to share!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Leave a Comment

Filed under Blogs

Programme for the 2016 annual workshop is now available!

The World Bank will host the 2016 DMDU workshop in Washington DC, on November 16 and 17, 2016, with a training on DMDU methodologies scheduled for November 15th, 2016. There is still place for the training, but it is running out fast. Please confirm here by October 15 if you have not done that already, to make sure we save you a spot! The annual meeting is fully booked. Please let us know if you will not come so there will be place for others to attend. Download the programme. Continue reading

Dare to share!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Leave a Comment

Filed under annual-meeting, Blogs

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

Dare to share!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Leave a Comment

Filed under annual-meeting, Blogs

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

Dare to share!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Leave a Comment

Filed under Blogs

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

Dare to share!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

1 Comment

Filed under Blogs

Survey on DMDU Education & Training

We would like to get your feedback about your interest in and availability of DMDU education and training opportunities.
Please fill in this short questionnaire
On behalf of the Society let me thank you for your generosity with your time and willingness to participate.

Steven W. Popper
Chair, Education and Training

Dare to share!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Leave a Comment

Filed under Blogs

Annual Workshop

Registration for our annual workshop in Washington DC (November 16-17) is now closed.

This year’s workshop is organized around two key elements. First, the workshop will include 6 “problem-solving” sessions during which we will have group discussions around practical problems our Society members face in their work, and possible solutions. These will not be typical panel sessions since the audience will be actively involved. Second, the workshop will use posters as the primary means for participants to present their current work.  The workshop will integrate posters in three ways: (1) pitches in the problem-solving sessions for posters that speak to the problems described; (2) pitches in poster sessions; (3) informal discussions around posters during all breaks and social times. You will find below a short description of the 6 sessions that were selected for group discussions. Continue reading

Dare to share!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Leave a Comment

Filed under annual-meeting, Blogs

Report from the Third workshop on Decision Making under Deep Uncertainty

by Marjolijn Haasnoot (Deltares, Delft University), Judy Lawrence (New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute), Robert Lempert (RAND), Nidhi Kalra (RAND), Jan Kwakkel (Delft University)

 

In early November 2015 about 100 scientists and practitioners from all over the world shared their experiences and methods at the third annual meeting of the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty in Delft, Netherlands. The workshop was hosted by Deltares, Delft University of Technology, and UNESCO-IHE and co-organized with RAND, the World Bank, Victoria University of Wellington’s Climate Change Research Institute, and staff of the Dutch Delta Programme.

Groepsfoto DMUU workshop

Continue reading

Dare to share!Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Leave a Comment

Filed under Blogs