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Decision Analysis Celebrates 50th Anniversary

by Patrick Noonan on November 9th, 2014

DSC01612On Saturday, Nov. 8, a large and diverse set of researchers and practitioners from across the field of decision analysis (DA) gathered to reflect on the past 50 years, and think ahead to the next 50. This pre-conference Golden Anniversary gathering featured an afternoon program of speakers, and an evening gala that honored the founders of the field and presented the first organizational decision quality award bearing their names.

During the afternoon, a large ballroom crowd first listened to an array of presenters review some history, including DA’s roots in economics, statistics, psychology and engineering, the crystallization of the field in the work of Harvard’s Howard Raiffa and Stanford’s Ron Howard, and the subsequent half-century of evolution and growth. In addition to historical reflections (by Detlof von Winterfelt, Warner North, Bob Winkler, Jim Matheson, Larry Phillips, David Bell and Tom Keelin), the historical program featured remarks from Raiffa and Howard themselves.

The second part of the afternoon featured a look ahead. Raiffa and Howard provided their own predictions and hopes for the next 50 years, followed by quick takes from Jim Smith, Robert Bordley, Melissa Kenny, Scott Cantor, Vicki Bier, Ali Abbas, Jeff Keisler, Trina Weller, Jason Merrick, Sandy Wrobel, Bill Klimack, and Elisabeth Paté-Cornell.

After a short break and reception, participants reassembled for an evening gala to honor and thanks the two founders, and to award the first Raiffa-Howard Award for Organizational Decision Quality. Toasts by Jeff Keisler (outgoing President of INFORMS’s Decision Analysis Society) and Carl Spetzler (CEO of the Strategic Decisions Group) preceded brief remarks by a senior representative from Chevron, whose work was chosen by a Board of Examiners convened by the award sponsor, the Society for Decision Professionals.DSC01635

The organizing committee was headed by Eric Bickel, who also provided opening and closing remarks for each of the sessions.

[more photos pending – hotel Internet bandwidth seems to be an issue at the moment!]

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