Swarm Intelligence with Evolutionary Learning for Unmanned Vehicle Control

Unmanned vehicles continue to expand their roles in many applications.  This trend will likely accelerate in the future, as Congress has directed the FAA to develop a plan for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft within the U.S. by September 30, 2015.  To operate autonomously, unmanned vehicles must be capable [...]

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Quantitative and Qualitative Designs

Quantitative and qualitative designs share one common feature:  To be credible, they must be rigorously addressed using best practice in scholarly research design.  Qualitative designs employ methods to assess risk based on non-numerical categories or levels.  Quantitative designs assess risk based using numeric data (ratio and interval) where the meanings [...]

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Deciding Which Analytic Questions to Investigate

Most analysts, with the possible exception of those just beginning in their respective fields, have some choice regarding the questions they study and the projects on which they work. There is a skill to making these decisions — without a doubt, making wise choices regarding which problems to study makes [...]

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Problem Framing & Risk Preference

A few years back, the health care Preventative Services Task Force announced that it would no longer recommend routine mammograms for women between the ages of 40 and 49, a group that accounts for about one out of six breast cancers. “The recommendation is based on data that found that [...]

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Solving the current risk versus the uncertain future risk? An example from cybersecurity

My research for the last decade has focused on decisions that individual’s make under uncertainty. Recently with a colleague, Cathy Tinsley, at Georgetown University, we have been exploring decisions and risks associated with cybersecurity issues. We had 528 participants complete an on-line exercise. The participants were recruited from mTurk and [...]

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What is Groupthink?

As many of us find ourselves leading or being part of working groups for the execution of strategic planning decisions, we should all be watching out for common group biases that can cause these group discussions to bog down, ignore important aspects of the problem, or head in the wrong [...]

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Connecting the Dots with Analyses of Competing Hypotheses

As practitioners of an analytic discipline, be it operations research, statistics, or systems engineering, to name a few, many of us really relish the math part of our discipline.  After all, its “hard”; its not easy to do or understand for the layperson; its (maybe) what makes us special.  Short [...]

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Challenges of Terrorism Risk Management

Framing This Blog: I’d like to open up a blog-based dialog on some of the key challenges of terrorism risk management.  These challenges are found in other areas of risk assessment and risk management, but the context of terrorism risk management adds drama and relevance.  My hope is that comments [...]

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Can anybody do risk analysis?

Cyn: Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn’t make me Madonna. Never will – Working Girl, 1988 What can go wrong – how likely is it – what are the consequences?  Seems easy, right?  Perhaps not.  Yet we need to tackle these questions in order to responsibly [...]

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A Risk Analyst's Brush with a Rare Event

Among our clients here at the IDI, are the Navy’s various offices responsible for aspects of public safety for the Commander Navy Installations Command:  Force Protection, Fire & Emergency Services, Occupational Safety, and Emergency Management.  Our primarily role is to assist them in making risk-informed, resource allocation decisions.  One of [...]

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