October 1996 € Volume 23 € Number 5

Spotlight on Subdivisions

Military Applications, Decision Analysis Earn Society Status

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 decision support.

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 found at http://www.informs.org/Society/DA. 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 members.

The Decision Analysis Society sponsors three awards in the field of decision analysis:

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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