1st International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems
27-30 March, 1999
A CLASS OF DISTRIBUTED DECISION PROBLEMS
Visiting Scientist, Instituto de Sistemas e Robotica
Instituto Superior Tecnico
Professor of Electrical Engineering (Emeritus)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
We discuss a class of truly distributed optimal decision problems that arise in hypothesis-testing and binary detection problems. We investigate optimal team-theoretic decision rules under the assumption that several decision agents within an organization make independent uncertain measurements of the same event, coordinate using constrained communication protocols, and arrive at a team-optimal decision. These problems are much more complex than their centralized counterparts and demonstrate subtle issues of decision making in decentralized settings. We examine the improvement in the quality of the decision as we allow increased communication among the decision agents.
In addition, we discuss issues of different decision-oriented organizational architectures, e.g. flat vs. hierarchical, and the interplay between organizational topologies and restricted communication protocols for coordination. The results illustrate why it is difficult to structure superior (expanding or contracting) organizations.