Think about how to use algorithms and information technology designed to facilitate decision making and solve real world business problems.
Professor Hepu Deng, School of Business IT and Logistics
Professor Hepu Den’s primary areas of research specialty are in decision analysis, knowledge management, electronic government, e-learning, and their applications in business.
Professor Hepu Deng’s research in decision analysis involves the development of novel algorithms and approaches to facilitate the decision making process while at the same time adequately considering the interest of various stakeholders in a multi-criteria decision making context.
"For example when you buy a car, you examine the price, comfort, the brand and whatever else," says Professor Deng.
"How are you going to choose the car?
The decision depends on which criteria are more important to you. Maybe the price is more important, or the comfort is more important. How do you select the car with respect to all these criteria?
This is a typical multi-criteria decision making problem. Humans always make decisions in a subjective and imprecise environment in which they prefer to use language to make an assessment that is not precise.
Applying fuzzy sets theory effectively makes this decision making process much easier. In addition, the use of information technology through the development of decision support systems makes the decision making process transparent to the user in solving these types of multi-criteria decision making problems.
You could argue that it takes the emotion out of the decision."
Companies or government departments use the algorithm mostly for tender processes to facilitate multi-criteria decision making in relation to selection and ranking of different choices in support services and resources.
"For example, in an application used in Taiwan, my algorithm evaluated the performance of different bus companies to identify each company’s performance level, ultimately influencing the decision making process in choosing the company that provided the best option public transport in terms of cost effectiveness and safety aspects.
"Such an algorithm has been used in numerous applications in a real world setting as demonstrated by more than 230 citations in Google Scholar."
Another global project Professor Deng is involved in is a dredging project on a river in China to keep the channels open for transport. The river needs to be dredged on a regular basis but it’s a constantly changing landscape of shifting silt.
The dispatcher has a great deal of issues to consider every time he sends out a boat; the current flow, the depth, how much needs to be dredged, current weather conditions, the last service of the boat, the boat’s capacity to dredge; all these issues need to be taken into consideration. The challenge is how the dispatcher can adequately consider all these issues simultaneously while effectively handling the uncertainty and imprecision inherent in the decision making process.
The development of a fuzzy weighting scheme that has been incorporated into a multi-criteria decision support system framework can effectively solve this problem.
"RMIT is great for me because it offers me a great deal of freedom in my research and I like being in the city centre. And I’m really encouraged by the amount of resources that are going into research here to build research expertise and facilities."
Professor Deng originally graduated and worked as a mathematics teacher and then continued his career as a lecturer in the Department of Business at Wuhan University of Science and Technology in China, Gippsland School of Computing and Information Technology at Monash University, before joining the RMIT School of Business IT and Logistics.
During his career he has been active in the international academic community sharing his knowledge and expertise. He has acted as the Program Chair of several IEEE international conferences in Fuzzy Systems, Knowledge Discovery, Artificial Intelligence, and Computational Intelligence and the 24th Australasian Conference on Information Systems. He was the Publicity Chair for five IEEE international conferences in China and Singapore and he is currently a referee for many prestigious international journals.