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id ddss9488
authors Solans, Joan Antoni and Fargas, Josep
year 1994
title Towards Hybrid Technologies for Urban Design: Balancing Reliability, Power and Speed in Decision Support
source Second Design and Decision Support Systems in Architecture & Urban Planning (Vaals, the Netherlands), August 15-19, 1994
summary This paper constructs a theory of decision support system design, based on the three independent concepts of reliability, power and speed borrowed from epistemology. We say that a system is reliable if a large part of its performance is useful or correct, that it is powerful if it performs in a useful way in a variety of situations of interest, and that it is fast if its behaviour is consistently dynamic. An arithmetic calculator, for example, is more reliable than a mathematician, but the latter is more powerful. A programming language is as reliable as a calculator, but the calculator is faster. We use this framework to argue that a successful deployment of decision support technology must take into account the balance between reliability power and speed. We illustrate this approach with the case of a hybrid system for studying urban transportation issues in the Greater Barcelona Region based on land use, contrasting it with more conventional tools such as traditional geographic information systems or traffic analysis software. The hybrid system is shown to sacrifice the reliability and speed characteristic of commercially available software for a powerful set of computational tools developed specifically for the problem at hand. This tradeoff process is formalized using an analysis based on second-order reliability, power and speed concepts. We show that micro-level sacrifices of one of these properties are often inversely correlated with the same characteristics at the macro level. For example, the relatively slow performance of in-house software components on a given project can result in a high level of dynamism in addressing several related projects. We extend the design theory outlined above to a methodology for characterizing decision support systems in general, and argue that the hybrid technologies approach is more likely to result in systems reflecting the user's domain knowledge and skills.
series DDSS
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