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In many real-world problems, the range of consequences of different alternatives are considerably different. In addition, sometimes, selection of a group of alternatives (instead of only one best alternative) is necessary. Traditional decision making approaches treat the set of alternatives with the same method of analysis and selection. In this paper, we propose clustering alternatives into different groups so that different methods of analysis, selection, and implementation for each group can be applied. As an example, consider the selection of a group of functions (or tasks) to be processed by a group of processors. The set of tasks can be grouped according to their similar criteria, and hence, each cluster of tasks to be processed by a processor. The selection of the best alternative for each clustered group can be performed using existing methods; however, the process of selecting groups is different than the process of selecting alternatives within a group. We develop theories and procedures for clustering discrete multiple criteria alternatives. We also demonstrate how the set of alternatives is clustered into mutually exclusive groups based on 1) similar features among alternatives; 2) ideal (or most representative) alternatives given by the decision maker; and 3) other preferential information of the decision maker. The clustering of multiple criteria alternatives also has the following advantages. 1) It decreases the set of alternatives to be considered by the decision maker (for example, different decision makers are assigned to different groups of alternatives). 2) It decreases the number of criteria. 3) It may provide a different approach for analyzing multiple decision makers problems. Each decision maker may cluster alternatives differently, and hence, clustering of alternatives may provide a basis for negotiation. The developed approach is applicable for solving a class of telecommunication networks problems where a set of objects (such as routers, processors, or intelligent autonomous vehicles) are to be clustered into similar groups. Objects are clustered based on several criteria and the decision maker's preferences.
Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:34 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Feb. 2004