Course Guide to MS&E 252
Foundations of Decision Analysis
Welcome to Decision Analysis I. This course guide has been developed to summarize the course logistics. Please read this handout carefully.
Introduction Everyone makes decisions, but a few people think about how they do it. Psychological research shows that in many simple decision situations people make decisions that upon close examination they regard as wrong. Decision analysis is the normative field of decision-making. Throughout the course, we will develop rules of thought that will transform complex decisions into simpler decision situations where the course of action is clear. We will create powerful distinctions that will improve your personal decisionmaking and enable you to help others with their own decisions.
Message from Ron Howard Decision analysis is the best way I know how to make decisions. That’s not to say that thinking about decisions is important, but if you do wish to think about your choices, decision analysis is the best way I know how to achieve clarity of action. In MS&E 252, I will profess how to carry on a conversation for achieving clarity of actional thought by combining precisely defined concepts. Throughout the quarter, I will ask you to demonstrate your proficiency at conducting a professional conversation about decisionmaking building on the concepts present in lectures or in course materials. I guarantee that MS&E 252 will help you create powerful distinctions to improve your personal decision-making and to help others with their decisions.
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MS&E 252 Handout #1 Decision Analysis I September 25, 2012 ______________________________________________________________________ Enrolling on Axess On Axess, enroll in the lecture only. We will assign students to problem sessions by using the information from the class roster on Axess. If you attempt to enroll in a “section” on Axess, you will get an error.
Lectures Day: Tuesdays and Thursdays Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Location: Nvidia Auditorium Professor Howard, one of the founders of Decision Analysis and a teacher and practitioner for over 35 years, will lead the lectures. The lectures have been developed to demonstrate lessons that have been learned through the practice and teaching of decision analysis. Professor Howard’s style features a mix of Socratic dialogue, demonstration, lecture, and directed inquiry. The lecture demonstrations capture the essence of applying decision analysis to 'real' problems. Try to appreciate the philosophy and depth behind what is being taught in the lectures and demonstrations, even if they appear deceptively simple. Listen carefully to the questions posed and the responses provided by Dr. Howard. The course is interactive: contribute your enthusiasm and energy and you will be rewarded many times over. Before asking or answering a question in the lectures, please say your name. We would like to know you throughout the quarter just like you know us. The lectures will not always cover computational details, which will be addressed in problem sessions by the teaching assistants. We typically make announcements at the beginning of class; these will concern assignments and other course-related information. Handouts will be available on the web page for printout or reference. Additional handouts not available on the web page will be provided at the beginning of class.
Problem Sessions Attendance to both the class lectures and the problem sessions will be crucial to your success in the course. We will have several problem sessions running at the same time: Time and Location: See “The Teaching Team” section of this Course Guide After the first week, you will be assigned to one of the problem session sections. Please make sure you have registered on Axess for the course or your...