New decision software hailed ‘internationally leading’
A new computer programme that can help make intelligent judgements is set to advance the way we make decisions.
The software’s methodology, developed by a team led by Professor Jian-Bo Yang at The University of Manchester, could eventually be used in a wide range of fields, from measuring the excellence of an organisation to comparing the productivity of nations.
Professor Yang, head of the Decision Sciences and Operations Management group at Manchester Business School, explained: “If you were buying a car you would look at the various indicators, like price, reliability, performance and fuel economy. “This programme can help you make a decision based on judgements as well as statistics, so if you’re rich and price is not that important to you but reliability is, it will weigh these factors into the equation.” This, he says, is particularly important for companies or organisations, where decisions have to be justified, as the programme would also give reasons why, say, one fleet of cars was chosen over another.
The research into the software’s methodology was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which has hailed it “internationally leading” in its potential scientific impact with possible “outstanding” benefits to society. “There have been statistical-analysis programmes before but they have their limits,” said Professor Yang. “For example, with food quality, individuals taste the food so the results can be very different and completely subjective. “This software is able to make use of such judgemental information in the decision-making process – that is what makes it unique.”
He says the software’s applications are manifold and future research projects include the analysis of human errors in engineering equipment, food-quality analysis, new-product development, risk and safety analysis, performance assessment, resource allocation, environmental impact analysis and a comparison of the productivity of nations.
“Trade-off analysis is important in a great number of fields and this software can be adapted to suit many research projects. We are now hoping to find collaborators from inside and outside the university to put the programme to good use.”
Aeron Haworth | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
New technique promises tunable laser devices
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...