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IPT: DSS Types

posted Jun 10, 2009, 3:04 PM by Eddie Woo
So far we have talked about decision support systems as if they were a big, amorphous blob with no different types or kinds within them. As it turns out, there are a variety of quite divergent computer-based systems that all fall under the category of decision support. We'll be discussing and reading about four main types today.

In review of our class discussion, read pp191-194. Then, in a classwork post, answer the following questions:
  1. Spreadsheets
      (a) Describe the kinds of analysis supported by a spreadsheet.
      (b) Identify one example each of situations/decisions that would be supported (i) effectively by a spreadsheet or (ii) ineffectively by a spreadsheet.

  2. Databases
      Explain how a relational database can support decision-making in a way that a spreadsheet cannot.

  3. Expert Systems
      (a) Identify the aspects of human intelligence that are imitated by artificial intelligence (AI).
      (b) Outline some of the difficulties in designing and implementing an AI-based DSS.
      (c) Carefully read the infobox on p193. For the four examples provided, describe the benefits and limitations of the AI-based DSS in each case.
      (d) Account for why expert systems would be designed to be domain-specific.

  4. Neural Networks
       (a) Identify the basic concept that neural networks are based upon. Propose arguments for and against the use of this particular concept as the model of a computer-based information system.
       (b) Neural networks and expert systems are both designed by human software engineers. Contrast the relationships between these two decision support systems and their designers.
       (c) A neural network's designer is often incapable of providing an explanation for the decisions made by the network as a whole. Explain how this can be the case.
       (d) Compare the characteristics of parallel processing systems and neural networks.
P.S. As usual, today's classwork is loaded with HSC keywords. Here's a bookmark-worthy link to a helpful glossary that will help you to actually answer the question being asked!
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