International Society on
Multiple Criteria Decision Making
Facts about MCDM
In this page, you will find some interesting facts about MCDM and our Society.
Short MCDM history
Bibliometric Analysis (2008)
Traditions of the International Society on MCDM related to its conferences
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).
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.
Bibliometric Analysis (2008)
Johanna Bragge, Pekka Korhonen, Jyrki Wallenius and Hannele Wallenius
have done an extensive bibliometric study of MCDM and MAUT using the
ISI Web of Science database. The paper entitled "Bibliometric Analysis
of Multiple Criteria Decision Making/Multiattribute Utility Theory"
was presented at the International Conference on MCDM in Auckland in
January 2008. Thanks to the authors for sharing the
information with us!
Among the interesting findings is the yearly publication trend in
our field which shows a dramatic increase in the number of
publications during the last decade. It is also worth to show the table of the top-20 journals and
proceedings where MCDM-related papers have been published.
Traditions of the International Society on MCDM related to its conferences
Below, you can find information about the traditions of the International Conferences on Multiple Criteria Decision Making. This information should be taken into account by
conference organizers (and those planning proposals to organize conferences in the series).
- Executive Committee of the International Society on MCDM makes the decision of the organizer/location of conferences based on proposals made according to the
instructions given by the President of the Society. Typically, the meeting of the executive committee takes place during the previous conference.
- The conference lasts roughly five days including a half-day outing at the middle ot the conference week and a banquet dinner (typically on Thursday
evening). (There may be a get-together event before the actual conference.)
- The intention of the outing is to share information about the culture and traditions of the hosting country/region and enable free discussions among
- The society has three awards (since 1992) and the Awards Committee decides which of them are delivered at each conference.
- The names of the awardees are announced only in the banquet and according to the bylaws of the Society the awardees are expected to give talks the
- Plaques for awardees have so far been prepared by Prof. Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng (with very modest expenses that the conference organizer must cover.)
Besides the plaque for the awardees, two more plaques of the Society are presented: the MCDM Conference Chairmanship Award to the conference organizer and
the MCDM Presidential Service Award to the President at the end of his/her four-year term.
- The banquet dinner can nicely demonstrate the food culture of the hosting country and some nice program reflecting the local culture is
- The society has a banner (established before the society, in the times of a special interest group). The organizer of the previous conference
is responsible for taking it to the following conference and updating it.
- The conference organizers should use all possible means to keep the registration fee and other costs low and support those in need of
- Typically, some plenary speakers are invited and covering their travel costs (at least partly) is desirable.
- High scientific quality should be aimed at in all possible meanings in the scientific program. The number of parallel sessions should be
limited. Attention should be paid to reaching out to companies/industry to build a bridge between academia and industry/applications.
- Proceedings are published after the conference. Recently, the format of publishing special issues of selected journals has been favoured.
- So far, acceptance of presentations has been based on short abstracts.
- Book of abstracts must be given to all conference participants. In addition, the registration fee should include access to outing,
banquet dinner, refreshements and cold or warm lunches. In many conferences, some small souvenir and a conference bag have also been
included in the fee.
- For many years, Wiley has sponsored a Wiley Practice Prize for the best paper describing a real-life application of multiple criteria
decision making presented at the International Conference on Multiple Criteria Decision Making.
- In 2011, a doctoral dissertation award was established based on the decision of the executive committee. This new tradition will continue
as long as the executive committee so decides.
- Conference organizers must pay the society a levy of at least USD 25 per each paying conference participant.
- The conference organizer is responsible for funding the conference and, unfortunately, the society cannot cover possible losses.
- In further matters and questions related organizing conferences of the Internationa Society on MCDM, the President, the Secretary and the
Executive Committee are happy to help.
Last Reviewed: January 12, 2012