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Dan Power

Greetings to all of my friends who work in the area of computerized decision support. This blog is a way for me to share stories from my encounters related to decision support, to comment on industry events, and to comment on other blogger's comments, especially those of my friends on the Business Intelligence Network. I'll try to state my opinions clearly and provide an old professor's perspective on how computers and information technology are changing the world. Decision making has always been my focus, and it will be in this blog as well. Your comments, feedback and questions are welcomed.

About the author >

Daniel J. "Dan" Power is a Professor of Information Systems and Management at the College of Business Administration at the University of Northern Iowa and the editor of DSSResources.com, the Web-based knowledge repository about computerized systems that support decision making; the editor of PlanningSkills.com; and the editor of DSS News, a bi-weekly e-newsletter. Dr. Power's research interests include the design and development of decision support systems and how these systems impact individual and organizational decision behavior.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Dan's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

November 2009 Archives

I am a regular user of the Chrome browser from Google and I have been reading about the Chrome OS. I have also been trying Windows 7.

I like the speed and clean look of the Chrome browser.  I also like seeing my most frequently used pages when I add a browser tab.

What does the browser and operating system innovation mean for decision support?

1) expanded capabilities in the user interface.  I have always liked touch screen applications.

2) more focus on computing in "the cloud" and web-based applications.

3) more emphasis on mobility and computing "anytime and anywhere"

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted November 24, 2009 5:06 PM
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Recently, I reread Jurassic Park, a 1990 science fiction novel, written by Michael Crichton. Blog readers may recall from the book or film that mathematician and chaos theorist, Ian Malcolm, forecasted the failure of the amusement park that showcased dinosaurs recreated from DNA in fossils and in mosquitoes captured in amber.

Malcolm provides a layman's explanation of chaos theory.  In Wikipedia, "Chaos theory is a branch of mathematics which studies the behavior of certain dynamical systems that may be highly sensitive to initial conditions. This sensitivity is popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. As a result of this sensitivity, which manifests itself as an exponential growth of error, the behavior of chaotic systems appears to be random. That is, tiny differences in the starting state of the system can lead to enormous differences in the final state of the system even over fairly small timescales."

Reading Crichton again and thinking about unpredictability has lead me to ponder what chaos theory means for business forecasting.  What dynamical business systems do or might behave as a chaotic system?  Are production and economic systems inherently chaotic and unpredictable? 

My current thinking is that long supply chains are the primary dynamical systems we need to be concerned about for computerized decision support. The current efforts to produce and distribute H1N1 vaccine suggest the unpredictability of multilevel, long time horizon supply chains. Are there other dynamical systems of interest? Perhaps mortgage lending, derivatives, risk related systems??

Posted November 6, 2009 1:08 PM
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