Decision Making

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What is a Decision?[edit]

Decision making is a process of choosing an option from alternatives. Achieving the choice can be either risky (include some uncertainties) or certain. Usually decision process concentrates on choosing the best alternative. The best alternative can be determined by calculating and comparing the utility values and the probabilities of the choices.

Types of Decisions[edit]

A   B
0 0 0
0 1 1
1 0 1
1 1 0

In the context of Artificial Intelligence, computer scientists, software engineers and programmers deal with the ways machines make decisions. The simplest desision has a multiplicity of one-to-one (1::1), where only two possible choices exist: true or false; yes or no; one or zero; etc.. The two results are said to be mutually exclusive, thought of in human terms as "either, but not both" and "one or the other". Some terms for this type of desision are:

  • Exclusive OR (XOR)
  • mutex (short for mutual exclusion)
  • boolean as in Boolean Algebra
  • ...

In Topic:Web Design, a common means to allow a Human to enter the answer to a yes or no question is the checkbox.

Color-coded regions of the world based on the seven commonly-recognised continents
A simple form showing most of the html form elements

The next type of decision has a multiplicity of one-to-many (1::n), where one of several choices exist:

  • Color: red, yellow, blue, ...
  • yes, no, no preference (mutex with a "doesn't matter" choice)
  • Time Zone range: (UTC +12 ... UTC ... UTC-12)
  • Continent: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, N. America, S. America
  • ...

Again, these choice are exclusive in that only one of the several choices is allowed. These are sometimes processes by a program or algorithm as conditional variables or set as parameters. Some terms for this type of desicion are:

  • Selection - choose only one please
  • condvar (short for conditional variable)
  • parameter - setting a value for a variable
  • ...

For processing dynamic websites with PHP, a choice can be entered by way of a radio button or drop-down list to allow the user to make his or her choice.

Programs and Algorithms[edit]