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Attached is re-mail of a message concerning the Workshop on decision support
systems held in Macau, 26 February - 8 March 1996. I received non-delivery
message.
 
Zbigniew Mikolajuk, IDRC
 
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The Workshop "Decision Support Systems for Sustainable Development: Software
Technology for Agenda 21" has been organized by UNU/IIST (United Nations University / International Institute for Software Technology, Macau) and IDRC
(International Development Research Centre, Canada) in Macau, 26
February - 8 March 1996. The Macau Foundation and Macau Polytechnic
sponsored some events of the Workshop.
 
Forty four scientists from 21 countries attended the Workshop. The Workshop
program included invited lectures, case study presentations, round-table discussions and presentation of scientific papers. Good working atmosphere and very high
scientific level of most presentations were matched by participants' involvement in discussions, hands-on laboratory sessions and planning for future collaboration.
 
A position paper based on plenary discussions will by produced by the end of April and published in a major journal concerning information technology in development. The position paper will identify main issues of development and deployment of decision support systems in developing countries to improve decision making in such areas as social services, environmental protection, health services, natural resources management. The paper endorsed by all participants will discuss the role and contribution of information technology specialists in implementation of Agenda 21.
 
The following post-workshop activities are being carried out:
 
- exchange of messages on the list server ([log in to unmask])
- preparation of the position paper (Pat Hall, e-mail: [log in to unmask],
  fax: 44-1908-552140),
- editing of a DSS book (editors: A. Yeh, G. Kersten, M. Rais); a list server
  will be made available for the correspondence regarding the book at Carleton             University;
- sample software suite for DSS development (J. G. Krishnayya e-mail:
  [log in to unmask], fax: 91-212-477902, B. Adams e-mail:
  [log in to unmask], fax: 1-604-739 7753);
  please send suggestions which free software should be included in a DSS suite.
 
Please send your comments regarding post-workshop activities and new ideas to the listserver, or specific activity group or to me.
 
Information, access to information, knowledge, development policy and decision-making are imminent topics in discussions on sustainable development.  Agenda 21 underlines the necessity to improve decision-making concerning economic development and environmental protection at local, national and international levels. Decisions taken by every man and woman, municipal and provincial authorities,
government departments, multinational corporations and international organizations will determine the realization of sustainable development. Agenda 21 calls for research programs and implementation of information systems which  support decision-making based on sound information and procedures. Global sharing of knowledge, collaboration and coordination of decision-making at all levels will need
new tools and methods.
 
A practical, and in my opinion, critical issue in achieving sustainable development is how the wide range of decisions will be made and coordinated  on local and global scales. Technical aids are essential for both information- and judgment-driven decision-making. Interdependence of international, regional and national development, poses stronger than in the past, requirements for exchange of
information and sharing of knowledge and coordination of actions. Local, as well as global factors must be taken into consideration and available academic as well as traditional knowledge must be applied to solve sustainable development problems. Computerized decision support systems, well integrated with decision-making processes and valued by decision-makers, will contribute to the implementation of objectives of sustainable development.
 
Sustainable development implies a holistic approach to human development and preservation of the natural environment. Decisions regarding economic, political, or social activities should solve concrete problems, and at the same time, all implications from the point-of-view of the paradigm of sustainable development should be analysed. Many decision-makers are not prepared for handling the complexity
of such an analysis. DSS with built-in knowledge concerning the analysis and capability to investigate and correlate large amounts of data are needed.
 
Since the 1970s, DSS research has concentrated on financial (banking, insurance) and medical systems. New application domains need to be investigated from the viewpoint of decision-making for sustainable development :
 
- land and water management;
- food production and distribution;
- poverty alleviation;
- primary health services;
- public services and administration;
- education;
- pollution control;
- urban planning and management;
- natural disaster recovery;
- population growth control; and
- economic planning.
 
There are many definitions of decision support systems and their functions in
decision-making processes. Some definitions are so broad that simple software tools such as spreadsheets or database packages are labelled as DSS. They are used in a technology driven market to "sell" a particular technology, e.g. relational data base management, GIS, expert systems, document management. One can develop a sophisticated DSS using a spreadsheet or data base package, but it would be more appropriate to call these packages DSS generators or simply software tools. A combination of different software tools is usually needed in the case of development of DSS for sustainable development applications.
 
A decision support system can be defined by its functional characteristics as a system designed to support:
 
- the analysis of decision problems,
- determination and evaluation of alternative decisions,
- selection of a particular decision (or rejection in given conditions), and
- monitoring of the execution of selected decisions and suggesting corrective actions.
 
DSS provides software for collecting and processing of data, applying encoded domain knowledge and communicating with users. In the area of sustainable development a DSS is designed to support decision-makers and not to replace them as opposite to some automatic control or manufacturing systems which aim at replacing human decision-making in industrial processes.
 
Workshop Programme:
 
Monday, 26 February 1996
 
Welcome  UNU/IIST, IDRC, Macau Foundation DSC&C,
A Framework for Research on DSS for Sustainable Development,
Zbigniew Mikolajuk, IDRC, Canada
 
General DSS Issues and Survey of Research in DSS
Gregory E. Kersten, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
 
Population Growth and Health & Social Services
Brent Hall, University of Waterloo, Canada
 
Population Growth and Health & Social Services: Case Study
Brent Hall and Serge Poulard, University of Waterloo, Canada and ECLAC,
Santiago, Chile
 
Tuesday, 27 Feb. 1996
 
DSS: State of the Art
Jian-Kang Wu, Institute of Systems Science, NUS, Singapore
 
Finding Decision Rules in Data for Knowledge-Based Decision
Support Systems, TuBao Ho IoIT, Hanoi, Vietnam, pt., JAIST,Japan
 
Monitoring and Evaluation Infomation System of Major Natural
Disasters in China: GIS Development and Application
He Jianbang, State Key Lab of Resource and Environment Information System,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
 
Multi-Criteria /Multi-Objective Decision Procedures using GIS:  IDRISI Case Study
Demo, J. R. Eastman, M. Ramachandran, The Clark
Labs, Clark University, USA
 
Multi-Criteria /Multi-Objective Decision Procedures using GIS:  IDRISI Case Study
Hands-on, J. R. Eastman, M. Ramachandran  The Clark Labs, Clark University,USA
 
Wednesday, 28 Feb. 1996
 
DSS for Sustainable Development, J. G. Krishnayya Systems Research Institute,
Pune, India
 
Uncertainty and Decision Risk in Multi-Criteria Evaluation:
Implication for GIS Software Design, J. Ronald Eastman, The Clark
Labs, Clark University, USA
 
Building DSS Planning in India: Some Lessons, Subhash Bhatnagar
I.I.M., Ahmedabad, India
 
Guandong Flood Protection and Disaster Reduction, Auxiliary
Decision Support System -- A Study of DSS for SD Chen Shijing,
Liao Qifang Guangzhou Institute of Geography, China
 
Decision Support Systems in Chernobyl GIS Project,
V. S. Chabanyuk Intelligent Systems, Inc., Kyiv, Ukraine
 
Thursday, 29 Feb. 1996
 
GIS Development and Application in Management of  Natural
Resources and Environment Vladimir Tikunov Moscow State
University, Moscow, Russia
 
GIS Based DSS for Sustainable Development
Mukand Rao, V. Jayaraman, M. G. Chanderashekar ISRO, Bangalore, India
 
Spatial Decision Support and Tourism Planning
Robert D. Feick and G. Brent Hall University of Waterloo, Canada
 
C4.5 Tool Presentation: Hands-on TuBao Ho IoIT, Hanoi, Vietnam,JAIST,Japan
 
SAAM-APIC: Demo Visit, B. V. Bossche, Macau Water Supply
Co. Ltd. (SAAM), Macau
 
Friday, 1 March 1996
 
Round-table discussion:
DSS for SD: Definitions, Contexts, Experience and Expectations
Organizational an Institutional Issues in the Deployment of DSS
 
Improving Accessibility to Primary Health Care Services
Robert L. Bowerman, G. Brent Hall, Paul H. Calamai University of
Waterloo, Canada
 
A Succinct Presentation of Research Theme in the Project   Initiated by the CARI
for the  Creation of An African  Regional Group of Research on DSS S.
Koussoube, J. L. Ndoutoume, R. Noussi, African's Computer Science Institute,  Gabon
 
Round Table Discussion, cntd.
 
Monday, 4 March 1996
 
GIS in Decision Support Systems for Sustainable Development, Anthony Yeh,
Hong Kong University, Hong Kong,
 
A Decision Support System for Sustainable Land  Development  in
China Using Remote Sensing and GIS, Anthony Gar-On Yeh, Li Xia
University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Guangzhou Institute of Geography, China
 
Computer Assisted Programming of Rural Water in Cameroon
J.P. Weti, Department of Rural Water Ministry of Mines,
Water Resources and Energy, Yaounde, Cameroon
 
The Design of Decision Support Systems as  Federated Information
SystemsD. J. Abel, CSIRO, Canberra, Australia
 
DSSA-ADAGE: Decision Support Capabilities, Will Tracz, Loral
Federal Systems, Owego, USA
 
Tuesday, 5 March 1996
 
From Decision Theory to Decision-Aid Theory and  Decision Support
Systems M. K. Luhandjula University of Kinshasa,  Zaire
 
An Evaluation Model for Configuring Computer-based  Decision Support System,
Clement Dzidonu, Michael Mulvey, Dublin Institute of Technology and
University of Dublin, Ireland
 
Integrated Rural Energy Decision Support  Systems,
Shaligram Pokharel, Ministry of Water Resources, Nepal, pt., Univ. of Waterloo,
Canada
 
On The Interactive System to Support The Management of Industrial HEVEA Plantations,
S. Koussoube, J. L. Ndoutoume, R. Noussi, African's Computer Science Institute, Gabon
 
A Semi-Automated System for the Location of Forest  Ecosystem Networks: Hands-on,
Blair Adams, Facet Decision Systems, Inc., Canada
 
Wednesday, 6 March 1996
 
Handling Uncertain Information in a Decision Support System  for Planning:
Application to Water Supply Problems, M. K. Luhandjula, University of
Kinshasa,  Kinshasa,  Zaire
 
Land Use Planning in India: DSS Requirements, M. Rais NISTADS,
New Delhi, India, pt., UNU/IIST, Macau
 
Various Data Collecting Systems and Their Role as  DSS for SD in Mongolia,
H. Yakhanbai, Ministry for Nature and Environment, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
 
Satellite Images and Geographical Information Systems:  The Tools
of the Future: APIC Case Study, Chris Audroing, Francis Asia Ltd.,Macau
 
Knowledge Based Method Applications in Remote Sensing, Image Classification
for Environmental Monitoring and Landuse
Zhu Honglei, State Key Lab of Resource and Environment Information System,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
 
Intergraph Demo Visit, Vicente L. Gracias, Direccao dos Servicos De Cartografia e
Cadastro, Macau
 
Thursday, 7 March 1996
 
Economic Planning and Water \& Sanitation Management
E. D. Gamboa, EcoKnowMICS Project, Manila,Philippines
 
Economic Planning and Water Sanitation  Management:  Case Study Hands-on,
E. D. Gamboa, EcoKnowMICS Project, Manila, Philippines
 
Decision Support System: Integrating Scientific Research and Local Knowledge
for Sustainable  Development, S. Gameda, J. Dumanski, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
 
Knowledge Centres/ Networks for Empowering Knowledge Rich-Economically Poor Communities
and Innovators:  DSS for Solution Augmentation for Sustainable Development, Anil K Gupta,
Srinivas Chokkakula SRISTI c/o, I.I.M., Ahmedabad, India
 
Natural Resources Conservation and Crop Management  Expert Systems,
Ahmed Rafea Central Lab for Agricultural Expert System, Cairo, Egypt
 
Software Internationalization Architecture for  Decision Support Systems,
Patrick A.V. Hall, The Open University, UK
 
Organizational Memory Information Systems:  Case-Based Approach,
F.V. Burstein, H.G.Smith, R. Sharma, A. Sowunmi, Monash University, Australia
 
Friday, 8 March 1996
 
Round Table Discussion and Closing Session
 
Future collaborative work and world-wide working group on DSS for SD.
Requirements for new generation DSS, training and absorption of
technology by developing countries.
 
Excursion, Macau Foundation
 
 
Post-workshop activity coordinated by Prof. J.G. Krishnayya:
 
 Prof. J. G. Krishnayya
 Executive Director
 Systems Research Institute
 17-A Gultekdi
 Pune 411037,  India
tel: 91-212-460323
fax: 91-212-477902
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
 
"A Suite of Integrated Software Tools for the Development of Decision
Support Systems"
 
The purpose of this activity is to support the network of
scientists established at the Workshop in achieving the following
objectives:
 
A) Integration and expansion of the network of scientists
interested in developing decision-support systems.
 
B) International collaboration in developing practical portable
decision-support systems using an affordable (free of charge or
very low cost) suite of software tools.
 
C) Sharing of expertise and research achievements by
dissemination of research materials produced by the Workshop and
follow-up activities.
 
D) Identification of application domains for DSS in developing
countries and development of research project proposals.
 
To achieve these objectives, the Systems Research Institute in
collaboration with IDRC and institutions represented at the
Workshop will carry out the following activities:
 
- integration, testing and dissemination of application software
and software tools presented at the Workshop using Internet,
 
- analysis of software presented at the Workshop and other
software available free of charge in order to identify and
integrate a suite of software tools to be distributed to
researchers of the DSS (Macau) group,
 
- discussion on requirements for a DSS Development Workbench and
proposals of research projects in this area,
 
- exchange of information on current research and development
activities (a listserv has been already established at the
University of Waterloo),
 
- dissemination of the first version of low cost package of
software tools for DSS development.
 
Expected outputs/results:
 
1) Expanded network of collaborating scientists in the area of
decision-support systems for sustainable development.
 
2) Tested and verified package of software tools and documentation
for development of decision support systems disseminated to institutions
in developing countries.
 
3) A report on requirements for a DSS Development Workbench.
 
4) A draft proposal for an international research project on
software tools for DSS development.
 
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