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Free Multi-criteria Decision Aiding (MCDA) Tools for Research Students

By Dr. Thomas KL Tong

http://www.linkedin.com/in/drtong


Introduction

When I was a research student in 1995, I knew nothing on programming. The original study of my area was "Organization Learning". In 1997, the environment in the university had changed. There was a high pressure to research students to publish papers in a limited time. I think my original approach could not publish paper quickly. Then, I switched my research area to application research between applied mathematics and management problems. I found myself have strong interest in writing new findings of mathematicians into a easy to use Excel program. With this Excel programs, my followers can easily make use of the new mathematical findings. They even do not need to know the details of the calculations within the tools. They can apply them into their own management research. I have two students who got thesis prizes for making uses of my works. At that time, the commercial products of MCDA tools like Expertchoices  and ELECTRE III are very expensive. So, I developed my own MCDA tools based on the new findings in operational research works.

It should be noted that:

  1. ALL applications of Expert Choices (AHP) are in-line with the Non-structural fuzzy decision   support system (NSFDSS)
  2. ALL applications of ELECTRE III (outranking models) are in-line with the Grey Relational analysis (GRA) and Superiority and inferiority ranking method (SIR)

Application reminders for research students:

  1. My major area is construction management. You can see my published papers are in this freid. It DOES NOT IMPLY that my developed MCDA tools can only apply to this area. I should remind you that ALL MCDA tools are generic tools which can apply to many different areas related to decision making. You can see the paper Number 3. I applied it in the area of production research.
  2. You does not need to know programming skill or mathematics in order to use my work. It is necessary to follow the instructions in readme to setup your Excel before you open my XLS files.
  3. I have little resources to write HELP of how to use my work for you. I have confident that it is so easy to follow if you download my previous papers as the application examples.
  4. Please remind to make proper references to my previous works if you need.

This website is to provide free multi-criteria decision aiding (MCDA) tools I developed few years before for academic purposes. I programmed 3 useful MCDA tools for free download. Research students can make use my work to start your study in any professional area. MCDA tools can apply to various decision making researches in any area.

 

Freewares of following MCDA Tools can be downloaded in the attachments:

1.      Non-structural fuzzy decision support system (NSFDSS)

2.      Grey Relational analysis (GRA)

3.      Superiority and inferiority ranking method (SIR)

4.    The Excel addin of "Morefunc"



References:

1.      Tam CM, Tong TKL, Leung AWT and Chiu GWC (2002), Site Layout Planning using Nonstructural Fuzzy Decision Support System, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 128, No. 3, May/June 2002, pp. 220-231, http://www.civ.utoronto.ca/sect/coneng/tamer/Courses/CIV1278/REF/site%20fuzzy.pdf

 Abstract: Site layout planning can affect productivity and is crucial to project success. However, as construction is heterogeneous in the nature of its organizations, project designs, time constraints, environmental effects, etc., site layout planning for each project becomes unique. Affected by many uncertainties (variables) and variations, site layout planning is a typical multiobjective problem. To facilitate the decision-making process for these problems, a nonstructural fuzzy decision support system (NSFDSS) is proposed. NSFDSS integrates both experts’ judgment and computer decision modeling, making it suitable for the appraisal of complicated construction problems. The system allows assessments based on pairwise comparisons of alternatives using semantic operators that can provide a reliable assessment result even under the condition of insufficient precise information.

 


 

 

2.      Tam CM, Tong TKL and Chiu GWC, (2006), Comparing non-structural fuzzy decision support system and analytical hierarchy process in decision-making for construction problems, European Journal of Operational Research, Volume 174, Issue 2, 16 October, Pages 1317-1324

Abstract: Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) is a commonly used decision-aiding tool for resolving multi-criteria decision problems. However, users sometimes find it difficult to ensure a consistent pairwise comparison between voluminous decisions. The cause of which is that the Consistency Ratio (CR) is produced after the evaluation process and its global acceptance criteria is limited. When the derived ratio reports some inconsistency, it requires a long process to locate and rectify the problem. The major aim of this study is to look for an alternative decision-aiding tool to AHP, helping to avoid the above problem. The alternative approach proposed in this study is the Non-Structural Fuzzy Decision Support System (NSFDSS). The application of the system is illustrated with a worked example. The results generated by NSFDSS are compared against those generated by the conventional AHP that shows the effectiveness and some unique advantages of the proposed tool over AHP.


3.      Chan WK and Tong TKL, (2007), Multi-criteria material selections and end-of-life product strategy: Grey relational analysis approach, Materials & Design, Volume 28, Issue 5, Pages 1539-1546

 Abstract: The choice of materials for a manufacturing enterprise is important. An improper selection can negatively affect productivity, profitability and undermine the reputation of an enterprise because of the growing demands for extended producer responsibility. This paper presents an integrated methodology of performing an order pair of materials and end-of-life product strategy for the purpose of material selection. The requirements of the methodology do not only include both the technical and economic factors, but also the environmental factors. However, this integration poses challenging problem of decisions subject to non-linear constraints and uncertainties. Furthermore, there are multiple and contradictory objectives to be considered. Using Grey relational analysis, the multi-criteria weighted average is proposed in decision-making process to rank the materials with respect to several criteria. It will guide the selection process and help a decision maker solve the selection problem. The method is demonstrated with an example. Various material options are evaluated using the developed multi-criteria methodology.

 

4.     Tam CM, Tong TKL, Wong YW,  (2004), Selection of Concrete Pump Using the Superiority and Inferiority Ranking Method, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Volume 130, Issue 6, pp. 827-834 (November/December)

 Abstract: The Superiority and Inferiority Ranking (SIR) method, a multicriteria decision-making technique, is proposed for facilitating the process of construction plant selection. The SIR method draws together the strengths of most multicriteria decision-making models in handling nonquantifiable, cardinal, and/or ordinal data and allows imprecise information by introducing concepts like indifference and preference thresholds for each criterion. In addition, the technique is capable of dealing with data in different units. The application of the SIR method is illustrated with a case study in the evaluation of 10 alternative concrete pumps based upon nine decision criteria. From the case study, the benefits and strengths of the SIR method in the selection process are unveiled.  

Readme file before using the excel freeware:

It is noted that my work are built on the freeware addin of "Morefunc" which can be download from the attachment 1.

Installation the excel addin of “morefunc”

1.      Extract the morefunc.zip file to C:\

2.      Start the Excel

3.      Press Button “Tools” --> addin --> Browse

4.      Select the folder of C:\morefunc

5.      Click the file of “morefunc.xll”

6.      Click the checkbox of “Morefunc (add-in functions)”

7.      Click “OK” button

 

Reset the Macro security level in Excel to medium

8.      Press Button “Tools” --> Options --> Security menu

9.      Click the button of “Macro security”

10.  Set the security level to “Medium”

11.  Click “OK” button


For those users using Excel 2007, please download the file of setup.rar which is the morefunc version 5.6. This new version of "morefunc" addin can be used on Excel 2007.

For any questions, please send to my email: thomas.uniga@gmail.com.


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Thomas Tong,
Dec 17, 2008, 10:26 AM
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Thomas Tong,
Dec 17, 2008, 10:09 AM
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Thomas Tong,
Apr 6, 2010, 5:15 AM
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Thomas Tong,
Dec 17, 2008, 10:16 AM
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Setup.rar
(1389k)
Thomas Tong,
Mar 14, 2009, 7:33 PM
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Thomas Tong,
Dec 17, 2008, 10:04 AM
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