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What is a decision support model?

by Dan Power
Editor, DSSResources.com

In the realm of decision support, a model is a quantitative description of a phenomenon. A model replicates major properties of a phenomenon of interest and can be used to study it. A model is an abstraction of a real system or thing. In general, a quantitative model attempts to link the major variables or elements of a system in such a way that results can be generated that are predictive of the behavior of the actual system.

In broad terms, a quantitative description means that inputs and outputs are processed by the variables that describe any transformations that occur as part of a phenomenon. The model has a boundary and both inputs and outputs cross the boundary. The values of inputs are processed by the model to determine the values of outputs. A simple example may help explain the decision support model. Let's describe a cost estimation model where total cost is equal to number of labor hours multiplied by the wage rate per hour. So TC = N * $12.00, where $12.00 is the wage rate. N is the input and TC is the output. The model describes the transformation of the input to determine the output. If N = 30, then TC = $360.00. This example is a simple algebraic model.

Last update: 2013-01-13 06:26
Author: Daniel Power

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