Computer-based decision support

We have been developing computer based decision support systems for the improved automation of the processes within areas such as transport, energy, biofuels and pharmaceutical sectors. A significant area of our current work involves the development of decision support programs to assist policy designers. These programs are based on engineering design, computer science techniques and decision methods such as for example, ontologies, multi-criteria decision making, backcasting and complexity science.

Specific projects

Decision rationale management and multi-criteria decision analysis

rational_management.jpgThe objective of this research is to create tools which facilitate, clarify, record and accelerate decision processes in a dynamic and flexible environment. While the program can be used for any decision process, it is being developed with specific features for energy policy development. The research centers on OUTDO, which is an extension of Compendium, an open sourced public-domain ‘dialogue mapping’ tools that allows the user to represent visually concepts, ideas and arguments via nodes and links between them.

Semantic Representation of Energy Policy Goals related to Electricity Generation

knowledge_model.jpgThe objective of this computer model is to mimic the considerations given to and influence received from geopolitical and social factors within the energy policy formulation process. This is achieved through the development of an ontology-based decision support system to represent the energy policy knowledge domain. The knowledge domain is modeled with ontologies and the heuristics are based on First Order Predicate Logic with rules for Higher Order Logic Functions. The model offers automatic mathematical expression formulation through the use of knowledge inference. Inferences from the model are validated for feasibility of implementation by a mathematical-based set of engineering models which represents current energy generation technologies.

Evaluation of decentralised water treatment systems

gis watertreatmentThe tool at this stage of development: (i) identifies sites within the study area that are an appropriate place of construction for the waste water treatment plants, (ii) identifies the least cost path for sewage pipelines to these WWTP sites, and (iii) compares the cost of sewerage system of the centralised case and that of an hypothetical semi-centralised system. The tool is an integrated framework that creates interoperability among the specialised platforms (a Geographical Information System and engineering models in Java).


Selected publications

A. Taeihagh, R. Bañares-Alcántara and M. Givoni. A Virtual Environment for the Formulation of Policy Packages, Transportation Research A, 60:53-68 (2014).

A. Taeihagh, M. Givoni and R. Bañares-Alcántara. Which policy first? A network-centric approach for the Analysis and Ranking of Policy Measures. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 40(4):595-616 (2013).

J. Hunt, R. Bañares-Alcántara and D. Hanbury.  A New Integrated Tool for Complex Decision Making: Application to the UK Energy Sector. Decision Support Systems 54(3):1427-1441 (2013).

A. C. Kokossis, A. Yang, M. Tsakalova, and T.-C. Lin.  Systematic screening of multiple processing paths in biorefineries. In: Paul R. Stuart, Mahmoud M. El-Halwagi (eds.), Integrated biorefineries: design, analysis, and optimization, CRC Press, pp37-58 (2012).

A. Chee Tahir R. Bañares-Alcántara.  A Knowledge Representation Model for the Optimisation of Electricity Generation Mixes. Applied Energy, 97:77-83 (2012).

A. Aldea, R. Bañares-Alcántara and S. Skrzypczak.  Managing Information to Support the Decision Making Process. Journal of Information and Knowledge Management 11(3):1250016, 13 pages  (2012).

R. Bañares-Alcántara, Process Systems Engineering and Policy Making. C8 entry in the Ullman’s Encyclopaedia for Process Systems Engineering, (R. Gani, G. Sin and K. Gernaey eds.), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, DOI: 10.1002/14356007.o22_o13 (2012).

M.B. Sesen, P. Suresh, R. Bañares-Alcántara and V. Venkatasubramanian. An Ontological framework for Automated Regulatory Compliance in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing. Comps&Chem.Eng., 34(7):1155-1169 (2010).

R. Bañares-Alcántara. Perspectives on the Potential Roles of Engineers in the Formulation, Implementation and Enforcement of Policies. Comps&Chem.Eng. 34(3): 267-276 (2010).

A. Taeihagh, R. Bañares-Alcántara and C. Millican. Development of a novel framework for the design of transport policies to achieve environmental targets. Comps&Chem.Eng. 33(10):1531-1545 (2009).