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20-establishing dominance and potential optimality in multi-criteria analysis with imprecise weight and value

20-establishing dominance and potential optimality in multi-criteria analysis with imprecise weight and value

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*Corresponding author. Tel.:#82-958-3601; fax:#82-958-3604.
E-mail address:seekim@kaist.ac.kr (S.H. Kim).
\ue002The author gratefully acknowledges support for this research from Korea Research Foundation in Korea.
Computers & Operations Research 28 (2001) 397}409
Establishing dominance and potential optimality in
multi-criteria analysis with imprecise weight and value
Yun Seong Eum, Kyung Sam Park\ue002, Soung Hie Kim*
Graduate School of Management, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, 207-43 Cheongryang, Dongdaemun,
Seoul 130-012, South Korea
Received 1 December 1998; received in revised form 1 April 1999

The model presented in this paper does not require exact estimations of decision parameters such as attribute weights and values that may often be considerable cognitive burden of human decision makers. Information on the decision parameters is only assumed to be in the form of arbitrary linear inequalities which form constraints in the model. We consider two criteria, dominance and potential optimality, to check whether or not each alternative is outperform for a"xed feasible region denoted by the constraints. In particular, we develop a method to identify potential optimality of alternatives when all (or subsets) of the attribute values as well as weights are imprecisely know. This formulation becomes a nonlinear programming problem hard to be solved generally so that we provide in this paper how this problem is transformed into a linear programming equivalent.

Scope and purpose

Most managerial decisions involve choosing an optimal alternative from a number of available alterna- tives. Researchers have proposed a lot of methods to assist decision makers in choice making with a set of, usually con#icting, criteria or attributes. Many of these approaches require exact (or precise) information about either or both attribute values and/or trade-o! weights. In some practice, however, it is not easy for decision makers to provide such exact data because, for example, intangible attributes to re#ect social and environmental impacts may be included. To cope with such problem, a mathematical programming model-based approach to multi-criteria decision analysis is presented in this paper when both attribute weights and marginal values are imprecisely identi"ed. A weighted additive rule is used to evaluate the performance of alternatives. We then show how to obtain non-dominated and potentially optimal alterna- tives in order to support choice making.\ue000 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:Multi-criteria decision analysis; Imprecise information; Dominance; Potential optimality
0305-0548/00/$ - see front matter\ue000 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 3 0 5 - 0 5 4 8 ( 9 9 ) 0 0 1 2 4 - 0
1. Introduction

Multi-criteria decision analysis deals with situations in which decision alternatives are evaluated on a"nite number of attributesi"1,2,n. One of the best known and the most widely used ways to evaluate alternativex"(x\ue002,2,xL)2 is to utilize the weighted additive decomposition

wG vG(xG)

of a value functionv. HerevG is the marginal value function of attributei such thatvG :xGP[0, 1] andwG*0 is the weight which represents the relative importance of theith attribute. This evaluation function has been well examined in the literature (e.g., Keeney and Rai!a [1], Dyer and Sarin [2]).

Suppose that there is a"nite set of all available alternatives,X"+x\ue002,2,xH,2,xK,LRL. The decision maker then seeks to choose an alternativexH3X, the optimal or most preferred alterna- tive, which we assume such that

wG vG(xH

If the decision parameterswG andvG () ) are all exactly or numerically assessed by the decision maker, choosingxH is done by simple calculation using (2). In some practice, however, it is no simple matter actually to measure the exact values of weights. Rather, the decision maker gives only certain linear relations which express imprecise information about the weights. Examples of imprecise weights are in the form of bounded descriptions;w\


and rankings;w\ue002*2*wL. Use of linear programming approaches for some special and/or arbitrary forms of imprecise weights has been discussed in the literature; while identifying only non-dominated alternatives in [3}11], methods for simultaneously dealing with dominance and potential optimality can be found in [12}16].

We now assume, to deal with even more general situation, that the marginal valuesvG(xG) of
attributei are known, for example, only to lie within prescribed bounds such asv\G (xG))vG(xG)
G(xG). This may arise from the following situations: The decision maker can only specify a range
G] for the possible outcomes (or consequences) of alternativex on attributei. The desired
bounds forvG(xG) can then be obtained from the known value functionvG in a manner that, for an
increasing value functionvG, these bounds are given byv\
G(xG)"vG(x\G) andv>
Conversely, ifxG is estimated as an exact number such asx(G but the value functionvG is known
imprecisely so that there is a range of possible values for outcomex(G , then the desired boundsv\
G(xG) are de"ned as the lower and upper values thatvGcan have. Because of imprecise
information about either or both outcomes and/or value functions, on the other hand, it may be
possible to have other forms of valuesvG(xG) such as rankings;vG(x\ue002
G)*0; and
rankings of di!erences between alternatives;vG(x\ue002

Incorporating the imprecision of both weights and values into (1) apparently brings some computational di$culties in evaluating alternatives under consideration. One can see that (1) involves a non-linear formula since the decision parameterswG andvG(xG) are partially known. These computational di$culties, however, have been partly overcome in prior studies [18}20,24].

Y.S. Eum et al./ Computers & Operations Research 28 (2001) 397}409

A point to be noted is that all of these papers mainly deal with dominance but not potential optimality of alternatives. Here dominance means acomponentwise dominance which we compre- hend as preference relationships between onlyactual alternatives. In contrast to this compon- entwise dominance, potential optimality is regarded as amixed orconvex dominance. This is accomplished by testing whether an actual alternative is dominated by avirtual (or actual) alternative that is generated from a convex combination of one or more of other actual alternatives.

We therefore address in this paper potential optimality in case that imprecise information about both weights and marginal values are incorporated into an existing multi-attribute evaluation model as in (1). For convenience, some prior approaches for dominance and potential optimality are described in the next section. This is followed by our development and,"nally, conclusions.

2. Earlier methods
2.1. Dominance when only weights are imprecise

Suppose that the attribute weights are known imprecisely which we represent as a set of constraints,w"(w\ue002,2,wL)3=. As noted previously, we include the set= to designate at least one or more of conditions

Week rankings:w\ue002*2*wL*0,
Strict rankings:wG!wG>\ue002*\ue000G,i"1,2,n!1,
Di!erence rankings:w\ue002!w\ue003*2*wL\\ue002!wL*0,
Fixed bounds:w\G)wG)w>
Ratio bounds:\ue002\
Gw\ue002, i"2,2, n

or any other condition that may be available from the decision maker. We thus comprehend that the constraint set= can include`arbitrary linear inequalitiesa of imprecise weights that are assumed to be consistent. Note that= can also include a normalization condition,\ue000GwG"1, since we utilize an evaluation function as in (1).

In this situation, the dominance relation of alternatives is de"ned as
De5nition 1(Dominance). Let a preference relationP on the set of alternativesX:xIPxH means
that alternativexI dominates (or is preferred to)xH. ThenxIPxH holds if and only if
As can be seen in prior studies (e.g., Kmietowicz and Pearman [5], Insua and French [15],
Athanassopoulos and Podinovski [16]), this dominance test in a pairwise sense can be
Y.S. Eum et al./ Computers & Operations Research 28 (2001) 397}409

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