October 1996 Volume 23 Number 5
Spotlight on Subdivisions
Military Applications, Decision Analysis Earn Society
The INFORMS Board approved the category of "Society" as our newest
form of subdivision within the INFORMS organization in January. Some
sections believe that they would have greater credibility in
attracting new members and forming alliances with other related
societies to provide new or greater products to their members if they
could claim to be "Societies." Within INFORMS, however, they gain no
additional privileges or responsibilities other than agreeing to
maintain an active presence in the professional community.
In order to ensure that Societies will be subdivisions that maintain
such a professional presence, the Board has declared that only
"mature" sections may apply for this distinction. The Subdivisions
Committee and the Board measure maturity through the evaluation of an
application that summarizes past activities of the Section as well as
its plans for the future. The Section may complete the form to
demonstrate "maturity" in whatever manner is appropriate for that
section. Generally, these groups must demonstrate continued activity
by showing a history of meetings or journal activities, financial
stability, regular administrative functioning, including regular
changing of officers, and regular filing of annual reports, and a
general level of maturity. Second, the Subdivision must justify the
need for being called a Society and what it intends to do differently
if it is called a Society.
Two of our subdivisions have applied and received society status: the
Military Applications Society and the Decision Analysis Society.
The Decision Analysis Society (DAS) is one of the largest and most
active subdivisions of INFORMS, with over 500 members worldwide. It
promotes the development and use of logical methods for the
improvement of decision-making in public and private enterprise. Such
methods include models for decision-making under conditions of
uncertainty or multiple objectives; techniques of risk analysis or
risk assessment; experimental and descriptive studies of
decision-making behavior; economic analysis of competitive and
strategic decisions; techniques for facilitating decision-making by
groups; and computer modeling software and expert systems for
Members of DAS include practitioners, educators and researchers with
backgrounds in engineering, business, economics, statistics,
psychology, and other social and applied sciences. The Society
provides important services to its members including publishing three
newsletters each year, and sponsoring popular sessions at INFORMS
national meetings. DAS has also established a web site, which can be
This site contains a wealth of information about the field of
decision analysis and the Society. DAS also has an electronic mailing
list (DAList) that serves as a mechanism for announcements such as
job postings and discussion of problems of current interest to
The Decision Analysis Society sponsors three awards in the field of
- The Ramsey Medal, the society's highest award, is given for
distinguished contributions to the field of decision analysis.
- The Best Publication in Decision Analysis award is given
annually to the best paper in the field.
- The Best Student Paper in Decision Analysis is given annually
to the best paper authored by a student in the field.
Donald L. Keefer of the Dept. of Management at Arizona State
University is chairman of the Decision Analysis Society. Other
elected officers are Detlof von Winterfeldt, vice-chair and
chair-elect; Ward Edwards, past chair; and Robert Nau,
secretary-treasurer. Thomas Eppel is editor of the newsletter. The
Society has outreach efforts underway internationally. Raimo
Hamalainen is chair of the European Assembly and Margaret Tan is
chair of the Asian Assembly.
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Operations Research and the Management Sciences. All rights
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