from DSSResources.com

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                       DSS News 
                  D. J. Power, Editor 
       September 14, 2003 -- Vol. 4, No. 19
       A Bi-Weekly Publication of DSSResources.COM 

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      Check case by Walton "Rebuilding an Emergency 
        Operations Center for NYC following 9/11"

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Featured: 
* Ask Dan -- What is Advanced or Next Generation Decision Support? 
* What's New at DSSResources.COM
* DSS News Releases 

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Ask Dan!
by Dan Power

What is Advanced or Next Generation Decision Support?

The "bleeding edge" of technology development and DSS is often a costly 
swamp.  Yet it can be very profitable to gain a "first mover" advantage 
in applying innovative technology developments for decision support.  So 
the various answers to this question should be of interest to vendors, 
large organizations that seek a long-term competitive advantage and 
academic researchers who are interested in studying emergent decision 
support technologies.

This simple question asks what is possible and what is probable in the 
development of the decision support systems of the near future.  In a 
previous Ask Dan! (03/16/2003) I discussed Moore's Law and suggested 
that improvements in microprocessor technologies enabled the design and 
development of more sophisticated DSS.  Other enabling technologies that 
have and will impact what is possible include storage and display 
technologies; networking and communication technologies are also very 
important. The leading edge of enabling technologies seems to foreshadow 
what will become more widespread decision support capabilities by about 
5 to 8 years.

Organizations have developed many computerized systems to support 
various decision making and planning processes and tasks.  Some of the 
systems have focused on management and operations control, others have 
focused on financial management, logistics and planning. In general DSS 
have been built to assist in complex decision tasks that involve 
expertise and large amounts of information or that can otherwise benefit 
from using prescriptive decision models. 

The next step in building more sophisticated DSS exploits some new 
technologies, but more importantly we will need to refocus on creating a 
synergy between users and a specific DSS that is helping a person 
perform a decision task.  We have not yet built HAL of 2001: A Space 
Odyssey and that type of decision support is not possible in the near 
future. The Fifth Generation Project was not a success (cf., Feigenbaum 
and McCorduck, 1983). So where is the current leading edge and what 
technologies are on the horizon that can be exploited to build more 
advanced DSS? Grid computing and parallelism in next generation Intel 
chips seem particularly interesting from a DSS perspective. Speech 
generation and recognition developments can be exploited in ways other 
than a "human-like" HAL; stereographic displays and wearable computing 
are maturing technologies. Global positioning technology is getting 
smaller and radio frequency and wireless devices are becoming more 
powerful. The realm of XBox/Nintendo games and multiagent development 
tools is pointing toward more detailed "realistic" simulations. The NSF 
Next Generation Software Program is funding leading edge research on 
dynamic data-driven decision support. Finally, the Real World Computing 
Project funded by Europe-Japan is winding down and we will see any fruits 
of that investment (see Joseph, 2001). 

How will DSS designers, innovators and developers take advantage of grid 
computing, parallelism, new displays, etc. My colleagues Peter Keen 
(peterkeen.com) and Jerry Wagner have written a manifesto about the need 
for advanced decision support and what it means.  In general, I am in 
agreement with their analysis, and I am working with them in the 
International Academy for Advanced Decision Support 
(http://www.iaads.unomaha.edu/).  Jerry is the Director of IAADS. Let me 
quote from their manifesto:

"What has been missing is the exploitation of visual simulation models, 
animation, multimedia, business war gaming, and many other tools for 
helping managers envision the future, share insights, and get a sense of 
the dynamics of business systems. In other words, if you can't see it, 
you can't get it."

"Mobile computing has been limited to laptops. All this has greatly 
constrained decision support payoff where it often counts most: reaching 
and executing a decision in real time across distributed locations and 
actors. 

"No computer application can, in itself, make people creative. Yet, by 
providing tools that are easy to use, fast to apply, visually 
communicative, flexible, adaptive, and mobile, decision support can 
liberate people from many constraints. These constraints consist of 
access to information, complexity and cost of analysis, difficulty in 
communication, and leveraging their time and energy more effectively."

Based upon the above analysis, what is advanced or next generation 
decision support? The following four statements capture what seems 
possible in the near future. Advanced decision support is:

1) A customizable, high resolution, graphics-intensive user interface;

2) Dynamic, "real-time", data-driven analysis capabilities;

3) More powerful and easier to construct visual simulation models that 
decision makers can interact with to "envision" the future; and

4) Wearable, wireless devices with distributed analysis and collaborative 
capabilities that can support individuals and teams.

The transformation in decision support associated with Internet 
technologies is ongoing. The potential expansion of decision support to 
mobile devices is only beginning; grid computing and improved 
communications will create new decision support opportunities. We can 
expect much better, more targeted, more secure decision support systems 
in the years ahead. I am sure the IAADS group will be discussing these 
issues at the upcoming "Decision Support Thought Leaders Summit" October 
16-17, 2003 in Omaha, Nebraska. 

**********

References

Buyya, R. and M. Murshed, "GridSim: A Toolkit for the Modeling and 
Simulation of distributed resource management and scheduling for Grid 
computing", Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, vol. 
14, pp. 1175-1220, 2002, http://buyya.com/papers/gridsim.pdf

Feigenbaum, Edward A., and Pamela McCorduck. The Fifth Generation: 
Artificial Intelligence and Japan's Computer Challenge to the World. 
Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1983.

Joseph, Sam, AI, a feature article at http://www.japaninc.net, November 
2001.

International Academy for Advanced Decision Support, 
http://www.iaads.unomaha.edu/

Linux HOWTO on wearable computing at 
http://about.eyetap.org/tech/howto.shtml

NSF Next Generation Software Program, Dr. Frederica Darema, Director, 
Dynamic Data Driven Application Systems, URL 
http://www.cise.nsf.gov/div/eia/fdar_ema/dd_das/index.html 

Power, D., "What are decision support technology trends?" DSS News: Vol. 
3, No. 2, 01/20/2002.

Power, D., "How has and will Moore's Law impact computerized decision 
support?", DSS News: Vol. 4, No. 6, 03/16/2003.

Power, D., "Toward Advanced Military Decision Support," Project Report, 
Air Force Research Lab Information Institute, August 2003.

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What's New at DSSResources.COM

09/11/2003 Posted case by Walton, Matt S., III, "Rebuilding an Emergency 
Operations Center for NYC following 9/11", September 2003. Check the 
case studies page.

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DSS News Releases - September 2 to September 12, 2003 -
Read them at DSSResources.COM and search the DSS News archive.

09/12/2003 Cognos(R) ReportNet(TM) delivers enterprise reporting for SAP 
BW.

09/11/2003 Oracle's Ken Jacobs, "Dr. DBA": Run, not walk, to Oracle 
Enterprise Manager.

09/10/2003 Law Enforcement agencies lack the right tools to prevent the 
next terrorist attack on U.S. soil says Bob Griffin, CEO of Knowledge 
Computing Corporation.

09/10/2003 Motorola introduces ground-breaking miniature A-GPS module.

09/09/2003 'Network Effect' accelerating changes in business and 
technology.

09/09/2003 Bangkok Airways extends Sabre Airline Solutions Suite to 
create Systems Operations Center.

09/09/2003 Lockheed Martin UK awarded contract for new British Army 
Battlegroup Command And Control Trainer.

09/09/2003 Tomax + Oracle = retail-in-realtime(TM).

09/09/2003 Information Builders' WebFOCUS affirmed as a key part of 
ArvinMeritor's enterprise business intelligence strategy.

09/08/2003 Crystal Decisions enhances Web report creation and 
interactivity in Crystal Enterprise.

09/08/2003 Fortress Technologies secures wireless systems for 574-member 
Syracuse Police Department.

09/08/2003 Groundbreaking new Premier-U.S. Health & Human Services 
project will harness MicroStrategy technology.

09/08/2003 Information Builders meets customer demand for integrated 
business intelligence platform.

09/08/2003 SAP Expands CRM analytics to maximize customer value and 
profitability..

09/04/2003 Factory Logic announces newest release of the Streamline Lean 
Factory Management System.

09/04/2003 Keane inks application development and management (ADM) 
outsourcing pact with Descartes Systems group.

09/04/2003 Computer trouble at Ohio utility preceded blackout.

09/04/2003 Midwest ISO provides details to Congress regarding grid 
manager's role during August 14 power outages.

09/04/2003 BellSouth announces Web-based tool giving customers helpful 
information on basic phone service repairs.

09/03/2003 SAIC team wins USSTRATCOM contract.

09/03/2003 Agri Beef selects ProClarity for insight into business 
processes.

09/03/2003 Blackouts, threat of terrorism spur disaster recovery 
planning.

09/02/2003 Catalyst introduces new inventory optimization and demand 
management software.

09/02/2003 RFP issued today for simulation and modeling of electric 
system.

09/02/2003 MEGAPUTER analysis of flight safety data for Southwest 
Airlines.

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DSS News is copyrighted (c) 2003 by D. J. Power. Please send your questions to
daniel.power@dssresources.com. This version 1.1 has had some errors corrected from the version 1.0 mailed on 09/14/2003.

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