Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - CREEDS (Constraint Reasoning Extended to Enhance Decision Support)

The project was hosted by the Cork Constraint Computation Centre (4C), Department of Computer Science, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland and ran from 1/7/06 to 30/6/10. 4C is a leading research centre for research in the areas of constraint programming and combinatorial optimisation and is dedicated to making this technology more accessible as well as extending it through basic research. The primary goal of the CREEDS project was to allow 4C to gain knowledge and competence in the field of decision support systems (DSS).

Although 4C, in fact, was already deeply concerned with supporting decisions, in situations such as production scheduling, resource allocation, and supply chain management, the Centre did not have sufficient knowledge of the various areas of research that fall under the headings of decision making and decision support to fully meet its goals of supporting users in making difficult choices. A second goal was to assess the potential of constraint programming to contribute to DSS and to create strategies for developing this connection through interaction with experts involved in decision support and related areas. This was done under the assumption that constraint programming has considerable promise for tackling DSS problems, and that it even has the potential to support new breakthroughs in this area.

Researchers were recruited for this project from fields that constitute major areas of decision analysis and decision support: multi-criteria decision analysis, knowledge representation, handling of uncertainty, psychology of decision making, intelligent user interfaces, data mining, and group decision making. Researchers held seminars and/or organised formal discussion groups in order to effect the transfer of knowledge. In addition, the researchers worked closely with 4C staff on various projects involving decision support or allied areas related to their fields of expertise.

The accomplishments of the project included 10 peer-reviewed papers written under the CREEDS project and presented at workshops or conferences, and 13 other papers written by CREEDS researchers during their fellowships, including workshop and conference papers and book chapters. In addition, two international workshops were held under the aegis of CREEDS: the 2007 International Workshop on Knowledge Capture and Constraint Programming held in association with the 4th International Conference on Knowledge Capture (KCAPS-2007) and the 2010 S4 Envisa Colloquium on Spatiotemporal Data Analysis. The latter was, in fact, hosted by 4C and took place at University College Cork.

In addition, two software projects were initiated, and are still on-going. One was an ontology-based product recommender system, the purpose of which is to allow individuals to understand alternative products as well as deciding on which are the best for their purposes. The other was a constraint-based "symbolic spreadsheet", to support both individual and group decision making involving problems that can be modelled as constraint satisfaction problems. During the final year of the project, it proved possible to make an initial foray into environmental decision making under the guidance of one of the Marie Curie fellows.

Finally, the CREEDS project has allowed 4C to make new contacts with people in a number of other fields, including decision analysis, knowledge management, human-computer interaction, complex systems analysis, and environmental science (including computational geography). As Coordinator of CREEDS, I am pleased with the achievements of the project, but I am also mindful of the still-unfinished tasks. We have much to do to consolidate the gains made and to cultivate the potential collaborations made feasible by this project.

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