In these recent years my research activities evolved around two main subjects:
The idea here is to combine research and findings from Decision Analysis and Artificial Intelligence in an attempt to be able to handle new challenges in Decision Support (presence of very large data sets, streaming information, combinatorial structures of alternatives, uncertainty management, qualitative decision making etc.) as well as in Artificial Intelligence such as: automatic decision devices, multi-agent systems, reasoning in presence of incomplete and/or ambiguous information, argumentation etc.. Within this subject my very recent interest consists in trying to establish a general framework within which the definition of what is a decision problem should be independent from the methods used in Operational Research, Decision Analysis, Artificial Intelligence etc.. This work is conducted with Alberto Colorni and you can see our papers in ADT 2013 (published) and in recent work. That said I remain interested to specific topics such as:
- non conventional preference modelling: Preference models under uncertainty and/or ambiguity. Axiomatization of partial comparability. Axiomatization of preference structures admitting a threshold representation. Generalisation of the concordance - discordance principle in preference aggregation. Positive and Negative reasons in decision aiding. Hierarchical preference aggregation. Exploitation of non-conventional preference structures. Applications in negotiation support.
- applied non classical logics: Para-consistency and partiality. Languages and formalisms for uncertainty. Non monotonic reasoning. Preferential entailment. Para-consistency and defeasible reasoning. Rough sets and rough inference. Conceptual graphs.
- ordinal information in mathematical programming: Definition of best path under ordinal information on the arcs. Generalisation to other optimisation problems (assignment, knapsack, set covering etc.). Extension to the multi-criteria case. Problem formulations. Exact and approximate solutions. Evaluation of fragmented alternatives. Applications on transportation planning and logistics. Flexible Constraint Satisfaction as ordinal programming.
- argumentation and decision aiding: argumentation theory, relations between arguments and criteria, graph theory in argumentation, social choice theory and argumentation, problem formulation and re-formulation, revision and update.
- the decision deck project: for more details see www.decision-deck.org.
I introduced this concept some years ago and make it more precise in the position paper we published to the inaugural issue of the EURO Journal on Decision Processes (see in the papers). The idea here is to develop a comprehensive "Decision Aiding Methodology" (combining theoretical findings, empirical evidence and best practices) with particular emphasis to the problem of conceiving, analysing, assessing, implement and monitor "policies" and more specifically "public policies". The concept of "analytics" here is considered in the broadest possible way: I am personally interested to the concept of "reasons" (positive or negative) that enable a particular policy to be understood, explained, justified, argued, assessed; in other terms the construction of reasons thanks to which a public decision process becomes accountable. Within this subject I am interested in subjects such as:
- Decision Aiding Process: Models of decision aiding process. A formal representation of the process products. Problem Situation. Problem Formulation. Evaluation Model. Final Recommendation. Rationality Dimensions in Decision Aiding. The interaction between client and analyst. Normative, Descriptive, Prescriptive and Constructive Approaches.
- Governance and construction of Evidence: Problem structuring and formulation in governance support. Best practices of decision support in governance and the public sector in Europe. Regional Planning. Participatory Planning. Urban Planning. Public Policy Evaluation. Index Construction. Use of Argumentation Theory.
- Risk perception, communication and management: risk issues in designing and assessing public policies, social dimension of risk prevention and management, scenario construction and assessment, safe management, extreme risks.
Practice of Decision Aiding.
My research is not only theoretic. Research in Decision Aiding cannot be only theoretic. We regularly compare our findings in real life applications in order to refine our approach, to learn from successes and failures, get feedback from the interaction with the clients and test new ideas. Recent applications include (more details can be seen at the relevant publications in the papers page):
- assessing the comfort of trains for the French Railways (SNCF);
- construct and assess scenarios of social acceptability concerning technologies related to the use of Hydrogen;
- improve Rural Road Maintenance in Madagascar;
- support Participatory Decision Making in Risk Management and Natural Resources Management.