A New Decision Sciences for Complex Systems

Published in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 99, suppl. 3, May 14, 2002, p. 7309-7314

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2001

by Robert J. Lempert

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Models of complex systems can capture much useful information but can be difficult to apply to real-world decision-making because the type of information they contain is often inconsistent with that required for traditional decision analysis. New approaches, which use inductive reasoning over large ensembles of computational experiments, now make possible systematic comparison of alternative policy options using models of complex systems. This article describes Computer-Assisted Reasoning, an approach to decision-making under conditions of deep uncertainty that is ideally suited to applying complex systems to policy analysis. The article demonstrates the approach on the policy problem of global climate change, with a particular focus on the role of technology policies in a robust, adaptive strategy for greenhouse gas abatement.

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