Intelligent decision support system

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An intelligent decision support system (IDSS) is a decision support system that makes extensive use of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. Use of AI techniques in management information systems has a long history, indeed terms such as Knowledge-based systems (KBS) and intelligent systems have been used since the early 1980s to describe components of management systems, but the term "Intelligent decision support system" is thought to originate with Clyde Holsapple and Andrew Whinston[1][2] in the late 1970s. Flexible manufacturing systems (FMS),[3] intelligent marketing decision support systems [4] and medical diagnosis systems [5] can also be considered examples of intelligent decision support systems.

Ideally, an intelligent decision support system should behave like a human consultant; supporting decision makers by gathering and analysing evidence, identifying and diagnosing problems, proposing possible courses of action and evaluating the proposed actions. The aim of the AI techniques embedded in an intelligent decision support system is to enable these tasks to be performed by a computer, while emulating human capabilities as closely as possible.

Many IDSS implementations are based on expert systems,[6] a well established type of KBS that encode the cognitive behaviours of human experts using predicate logic rules and have been shown to perform better than the original human experts in some circumstances.[7][8] Expert systems emerged as practical applications in the 1980s [9] based on research in artificial intelligence performed during the late 1960s and early 1970s.[10] They typically combine knowledge of a particular application domain with an inference capability to enable the system to propose decisions or diagnoses. Accuracy and consistency can be comparable to (or even exceed) that of human experts when the decision parameters are well known (e.g. if a common disease is being diagnosed), but performance can be poor when novel or uncertain circumstances arise.

Some research in AI, focused on enabling systems to respond to novelty and uncertainty in more flexible ways is starting to be used in intelligent decision support systems. For example intelligent agents[11][12] that perform complex cognitive tasks without any need for human intervention have been used in a range of decision support applications.[13] Capabilities of these intelligent agents include knowledge sharing, machine learning, data mining, and automated inference. A range of AI techniques such as case based reasoning, rough sets[14] and fuzzy logic have also been used to enable decision support systems to perform better in uncertain conditions.


  1. Holsapple C.: Framework for a generalized intelligent decision support system (1977) PhD Thesis Purdue University
  2. Holsapple C. & Whinston A.: Business expert systems (1987) McGraw-Hill
  3. Chang, Jiang & Tang: The development of intelligent decision support tools to aid the design of flexible manufacturing systems (2000). International Journal of Production Economics, 65, 73-84
  4. Matsatsinis and Siskos (2002), Intelligent support systems for marketing decisions, Kluwer Academic Publishers
  5. Walker D.: Similarity Determination and Case Retrieval in an Intelligent Decision Support System for Diabetes Management, MSCS Thesis, Ohio University, Computer Science (Engineering), 2007
  6. Matsatsinis, N.F., Y. Siskos (1999), MARKEX: An intelligent decision support system for product development decisions, European Journal of Operational Research, vol. 113, no. 2, pp. 336-354
  7. Baron J.: Thinking and Deciding (1998) Cambridge University Press
  8. Turban E., Volonio L., McLean E. and Wetherbe J.: Information Technology for Management (2009) Wiley
  9. Jackson P.: Introduction to expert systems (1986) Addison-Wesley
  10. Power, D.J. A Brief History of Decision Support Systems, DSSResources.COM, World Wide Web, version 4.0, March 10, 2007
  11. Sugumaran V.: Application of Agents and Intelligent Information Technologies (2007) IGI Publishing
  12. Matsatsinis, N.F., P. Moraϊtis, V. Psomatakis, N. Spanoudakis (2003), An Agent-Based System for Products Penetration Strategy Selection, Applied Artificial Intelligence: An International Journal, vol. 17, no. 10, pp. 901-925
  13. Tung Bui, Jintae Lee, An agent-based framework for building decision support systems, Decision Support Systems, Volume 25, Issue 3, April 1999, Pages 225-237, ISSN 0167-9236, doi:10.1016/S0167-9236(99)00008-1. link to Elsevier
  14. Laboratory of intelligent decision support systems, Poznan

Further reading

  • Turban, E., Aronson J., & Liang T.: Decision support systems and Intelligent systems (2004) Pearson

External links