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Fifty years of probabilistic decision analysis: a view from the UK

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In 1959, LJ Savage attended a statistics seminar held in his honour at the University of London, confronting those present with a radically different approach to reasoning about uncertainty. Britain was well placed to respond to Savage, as very similar ideas had been laid out in Britain a full generation earlier, and in the next few decades, British and British-based practitioners and researchers championed a collection of techniques for thinking quantitatively about uncertainty (which we call ‘Probabilistic Decision Analysis’), developing practice, and contributing to theoretic knowledge about the underlying psychology and mathematics. This effectively turned a collection of purely theoretical ideas into a practical modelling technology. In the first decade of the 21st century, some 50 years on, these ideas have made a noticeable influence on practice and thinking in various domains, but numerous challenges still remain.Journal of the Operational Research Society (2009) 60, S33–S40. doi:10.1057/jors.2008.175 Published online 4 February 2009

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK

Publication date: May 1, 2009


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