Short MCDM History

 Part of the history of the Multiple Criteria Decision Making, the International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making, and related activities from Profs. Ralph E. Steuer and Stan Zionts (with assists from Murat Köksalan, Kaisa Miettinen and Jyrki Wallenius).
Early Roots

The earliest known reference relating to Multiple Criteria Decision Making can be traced to Benjamin Franklin (1706 1790), who allegedly had a simple paper system for deciding important issues. Take a sheet of paper. On one side, write the arguments in favor of a decision; on the other side, write the arguments against. Strike out arguments on each side of the paper that are relatively of equal importance. When all the arguments on one side are struck out, the side which has the remaining arguments is the side of the argument that should be supported. Supposedly Franklin used this in making important decisions.

More Recent Developments

When Kuhn and Tucker formulated optimality conditions for nonlinear programming in 1951, they also considered problems with multiple objectives.

In 1955 Charnes, Cooper, and Ferguson published an article that contained the essence of goal programming, even though the name goal programming was first used in a book published by Charnes and Cooper in 1961.

Numerous researchers were stimulated by Charnes and Coopers work. Goal programming since has become a mainstay of management science and operations research. Among the early contributors were Bruno Contini and Stan Zionts (both of whom studied with Cooper), who developed a multiple-criteria negotiating model published in 1968.

Intrigued by the multicriteria problem, Zionts continued his work and met Jyrki Wallenius at the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management in Brussels in 1973. Working together, they drew on Zionts earlier work (and goal programming) to develop the Zionts-Wallenius interactive method for solving multiple-objective linear programming problems.

Continuing their collaboration, Zionts and Wallenius were joined by Pekka Korhonen, a friend and colleague of Wallenius in the late 1970s. Jointly, they worked on methods and decision support systems for solving interactive multiple objective mathematical programming problems. Many of their students and colleagues continued to do significant research and publish on multiple criteria problems. These include Steven Breslawski, Hae Wang Chung, Dilip Deshpande, Ram Gopal, Tarja Joro, Mark Karwan, Zahid Khairullah, Murat Kksalan, Vahid Lotfi, Srinivas Prasad, R. Ramesh, Jeffrey Teich, Bernardo Villareal, Hannele Wallenius, Jingguo Wang, and Yong-Seok Yoon.

With respect to goal programming, James Ignizio, Sang Moon Lee, and Carlos Romero became major contributors.

Coming from another direction, Ron Howard wrote a paper on sequential decision processes with G.E. Kimball in 1959. We believe he used the term "decision analysis" for the first time during the mid 1960s. A principal co-author of Howard is James E. Matheson. Howard Raiffa was involved in decision analysis early on, and published an important work in 1968.

Ralph Keeney and Howard Raiffa published an important work in 1976. This book was instrumental in establishing the theory of multiattribute value theory (including utility theory) as a discipline. It became a standard reference and text for many generations of study of decision analysis and MCDM.

In Europe, Bernard Roy and his colleagues developed ELECTRE, a family of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis methods in the mid-1960's. The idea is to construct a directed network of preferences. Using the network, the methods construct a set of outranking decisions, or decisions that should be considered as best. In 1975 Roy founded the EURO Working Group "Multiple Criteria Decision Aiding" which has held two meetings per year since then. Collaborators include C.A. Bana e Costa, Denis Bouyssou, Jean-Pierre Brans, Xavier Gandibleux, Eric Jacquet-Lagrze, Yannis Siskos, Roman Slowinski, Philippe Vincke, and Constantin Zopounidis.

Daniel Kahneman and late Amos Tversky made important contributions in behavioral decision theory, and Kahneman went on to win the Nobel prize in Economics in 2002 for his contributions in this area. It is widely believed that Tversky, had he lived, would have shared the Nobel prize.

Ralph Steuer's professor, John Evans, suggested the topic of developing a multiple criteria simplex method to compute all efficient extreme points. Inspiration was drawn from works of Karlin, Koopmans, and Geoffrion. Steuers ADBASE computer code for generating efficient points became important.

Milan Zeleny, a student of Po-Lung Yu at the University of Rochester, independently carried out and published similar work to Steuers. In November 1972, Zeleny, and a colleague J. L. Cochrane, organized an international conference on MCDM in Columbia, South Carolina. Steuer and others including Jim Dyer, took part in the conference. The proceedings of this conference was the first major volume on MCDM and is still heavily cited.

Thomas Saaty introduced the Analytic Hierarchy Process in the 1970s and the Analytic Network Process more recently. His co-authors and colleagues include Ernest Forman and Luis Vargas. Saaty is one of the most visibly successful people in MCDM, having been written up in Fortune magazine.

The Origins of the Special Interest Group on MCDM

After meetings organized by Zionts in Jouy-en-Josas (1975) and Buffalo (1977), Gunter Fandel, Tomas Gal, Jaap Spronk, Ralph Steuer, Andzej Wierzbicki and Stan Zionts, at a meeting in Konigswinter, Germany, in 1979 founded the Special Interest Group (SIG) on MCDM. Zionts became the first leader of the group. That conference was considered the third conference of the group, with Jouy-en_Josas, France and Buffalo, New York the first and the second. All these meetings had some funding for participants.

The MCDM conferences continued, with the fourth organized in Delaware in 1980 by J. Morse and the fifth in Mons, Belgium in 1982 by P. Hansen.

The sixth meeting was organized by Yacov Haimes in Cleveland, Ohio in 1984.

H. Nakayama and Y. Sawaragi organized the seventh International conference in Kyoto, Japan in 1986. The organizers furnished the banner now used at every conference. A. G. Lockett and G. Islei organized the eighth conference in Manchester, U. K. in 1988.

In 1990 Ambrose Goicoechea organized the ninth International conference in Fairfax, Virginia. There were many international visitors, in particular many Soviets and other Eastern Europeans. Elliott Lieberman played a major role in attracting Soviet and eastern participants. Considerable fund raising was necessary to make this possible. Principal players in the fund raising (in addition to Goicoechea) were Jerry Cohon, Rich Soland and Stan Zionts.

Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng and P. L. Yu organized the tenth conference, in 1992, in Taipei, Taiwan, most generously funded by the Taiwanese Government. Many attendees from the east were generously funded. Billionaire Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky (an early member of the society) was offered a scholarship to attend. Although he did not attend, he personally paid for another Russians airfare to attend.

The succeeding international conferences starting with the 11th and ending with the most recent (the 19th) were as follows: the Coimbra (Portugal) conference in 1994 organized by J. Climaco, the Hagen (Germany) conference in 1995, organized by G. Fandel and T. Gal, the Cape Town (South Africa) conference in 1997, organized by T. Stewart, the Charlottesville, VA (U. S. A.) conference in 1998, organized by Y. Y. Haimes, the Ankara (Turkey) conference in 2000, organized by M. Kksalan, the Semmering (Austria) conference in 2002, organized by M. Luptacik and R. Vetschera, the Whistler, B. C. (Canada) conference in 2004, organized by W. Wedley, the Chania (Greece) conference in 2006, organized by C. Zopounidis, and the Auckland (New Zealand) conference in 2008 organized by M. Ehrgott. The 20th conference, organized by Y. Shi and S. Wang, will take place in Chengdu (China) in June 2009.

Other Aspects of the Society and Its Meetings

Every meeting is unique. Its been customary to expose participants to cultural aspects of the host country and region. In addition to the high quality of the academic presentations, participants have the opportunity to interact and build long-lasting relationships. The conference banquets are memorable events.

We began awards in 1992 at the Taipei conference. Tzeng has always overseen the manufacture and transportation of the plaques to the different conferences.

Zionts started a newsletter for the society in the 1970s, and then Steuer took it over in the mid 1980s. It is now distributed on the internet by Martin Geiger, the current editor.

The Special Interest Group officially became the Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making when bylaws were accepted at the conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1998. In 2008, the society acquired the domain

Other Important International Developments.

During the 1970s, Howard Raiffa, a pioneer in decision theory, became the first director of the newly-formed International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria. Ralph Keeney joined him there shortly thereafter. Around 1980, Andrzej Wierzbicki became head of the methodology group at IIASA. IIASA's purpose was to enable renowned scientists from east and west to work on non-political problems of global concern.

Because of the complexity of the problems, MCDM was embraced as a promising decision tool. Two MCDM conferences were held at IIASA during the early 1980s.

Some eastern participants in MCDM activities include Yuli Dubov, Valerie Irikov, Ignacy Kaliszewski, Oleg Larichev. Alexander Lotov, Vladimir Noghin, Wlodzimierz Ogryczak, Alexey Petrovsky, Vladislav Podinovski, Andrzej Skulimowski, Roman Slowinski , and Tadeusz Trzaskalik.

Because of limited convertible funds contributed by eastern block countries to fund IIASA, there was a substantial amount of eastern block money available for conferences in the east. There were numerous conferences in Eastern Europe, not considered part of the society.

Other active people in MCDM include Valerie Belton, Harold Benson, Joao Climaco, Kalyanmoy Deb, Matthias Ehrgott, Simon French, Raimo P. Hmlinen, Kaisa Miettinen, Masatoshi Sakawa, Serpil Sayin, Jaap Spronk, and Theodor Stewart. Please excuse any omissions.

Though other societies has developed (and we have mentioned specifically the Euro Working Group above), our purpose is to overview the general development of the field and the history of the International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making.

Given the rich history of MCDM, we hope that the future of our field continues to be as productive as the past.