Option topic 2: Decision support systems
Timing and resources
Time: 5 weeks
Syllabus: pages 48–51 Section 9.4.2
Software/course specifications: pages 12–14
Text: Heinemann IPT HSC—G. K. Powers (chapter 5)
H1.1Applies an understanding of the nature and function of information technologies to a specific practical situation
H1.2Explains and justifies the way in which information systems relate to information processes in a specific context
H2.1Analyses and describes a system in terms of the information processes involved
H2.2Develops solutions for an identified need which address all of the information processes
H3.1Evaluates the effect of information systems on the individual, society and the environment
H3.2Demonstrates ethical practice in the use of information systems, technologies and processes
H4.1Proposes ways in which information systems will meet emerging needs
H5.2Assesses the ethical implications of selecting and using specific resources and tools
Students learn to:
1.Characteristics of decision support systems
(a)Describe a DSS as information systems that assist users to make a decision by providing information, models and analysis tools.
(b)Outline the nature of DSS—interactivity, data management, model management, dialogue management.
(c)Classify situations—structured, semi-structured, unstructured recognised.
2.Examples of decision support systems
(a)Describe semi structured situations in terms of participants, data/information and information technology—banking, fingerprint matching.
(b)Describe unstructured situations in terms of participants, data/information and information technology—predicting stock prices, managing disaster relief.
(c)Outline types of DDS—spreadsheets, databases, expert systems, neural networks.
(d)Analyse trends using a spreadsheet—‘what-if’, range, label, value, formula, editing data, workbook, template, macro, charts.
(e)Extract data from a database—query, data warehouse, data mart.
3.Organising and decision support systems
(a)Design a spreadsheet—pen and paper, template, data sources, user interface, instruction area, input area, calculation area, output area.
(b)Develop formulas for a spreadsheet—cell references, name, operators, functions, circular reference, absolute referencing, relative referencing, mixed cell reference.
(c)Construct a knowledge base—if-then rules, expert system shells, MYCIN.
4.Processing and decision support systems
(a)Describe the structure of expert systems—knowledge base, database of facts, inference engine, explanation mechanism.
(b)Enter rules and facts into an expert system shell.
(c)Explain types of inference engines—forward chaining, backward chaining.
(d)Describe situations better suited to forward chaining and those better suited to backward chaining.
(e)Describe fuzzy logic—certainty values.
(f)Create a simple macro in a spreadsheet.
5.Analysing and decision support systems
(a)Describe data mining—intelligent agents, results obtained from data mining.
(b)Extract summary data from a spreadsheet—filtering, report, pivot table.
(c)Make predictions based on the analysis of a spreadsheet—‘what-if’ models, statistical analysis, bar chart, column chart, line chart, pie chart.
(d)Compare and contrast data matching in a database, a neural network and an expert system.
6.Other information processes
(a)Identify data for DSS—primary sources, secondary sources, structured data, unstructured data, data range.
(b)Describe the role of the expert—heuristic.
(c)Describe the role of the knowledge engineer.
(d)Describe the operation of intelligent agents—search engines for the Internet.
7.Issues related to decision support systems
(a)Describe intelligent systems—artificial intelligence.
(b)Outline the reasons for intelligent systems—preserving expert’s knowledge, improving performance and consistency, making rapid decisions, analysing unstructured situations.
(c)Describe the responsibilities of those performing data mining—erroneous inferences, privacy.
(d)Identify the emerging trend of group decision support systems—presentation material, brainstorming, voting, evaluation.
(e)Identify individual(s) who are responsible for decisions.
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