CSE4DSS – Decision Support Systems
Group Assignment, 2013
Due Date: Monday 13 May, 9:30am, 2013 (Written Report)
Week 10 or 11 practice class session (Powerpoint Presentation)
Assessment Weight: 30% of the final mark for the subject
The purpose of this assignment is for you to gain experience in identifying, analysing, and providing a solution to a decision support problem. You are to work in groups of up to three to identify a problem in some organization, and to design a computerized solution to support decision making for that problem. Your solution may be either model-centric, data-centric, or a combination of the two.
There are two deliverables for the assignment: (1) a word-processed report (approximately 3,0004,000 words equivalent), and (2) a 10 to 15 minute oral presentation to be delivered during your allocated practice class session during Week 10 or 11.
The assignment contributes 30% of the mark for this subject. The assignment is a hurdle requirement, which means that you must achieve a pass for the assignment in order to pass the subject.
Plagiarism is the submission of somebody else’s work in a manner that gives the impression that the work is your own. Students are referred to the section on ‘Academic Misconduct’ in the subject’s guideline distributed in the first lecture and available on LMS.
All sources of information that you have used in writing your report must be acknowledged. If any part of your model/solution is based on data, code, or models/solutions that you have found elsewhere, then you must acknowledge these sources.
Penalties are applied to late assignments (5% of total possible marks for the task is deducted per day, accepted up to 5 days after the due date only). An assignment submitted more than five working days after the due date will not be accepted.
Timeline and Submission Instructions
End of week 4: Group registration
Groups to have notified their tutor of their group’s composition. Groups should be composed of students in the same tutorial allocation groups.
(Variations to this need to be approved by the tutor/subject coordinator).
End of Week 6: Topic registration
Groups to have provided their tutor a brief (approx. 200 words) description of the organization and problem the group will be addressing. Ideally, groups will have provided the description well in advance of this date.
Monday 13th May : Assignment Written Report Submission
Each group must submit both electronic and hard copies of their assignment. Hard copies are to be submitted to the assignment submission box located on the ground floor of the Beth Gleeson Building. Electronic versions are to be submitted as a Microsoft Word document, and can be submitted through the Assignment Submission link in the Student Tools section of the LMS page.
Ensure that all group members sign and submit a Statement of Authorship form with the assignment. These forms are available electronically from the Student Tools section of the LMS, and in hard copy from the ground floor of the Beth Gleeson Building, just next to where the assignment submission boxes are located.
Week 10 and 11 Labs: Oral Presentations
Each group must present a PowerPoint presentation of their solution to their practice class. Group presentations will take place during scheduled labs in Weeks 10 and 11 (and possibly 12, depending on final enrolment numbers). Presentation times will be selected randomly, and the schedule will be available in Week 9. All group members must be present at the presentation. Groups must provide two hard copy printouts of their PowerPoint slides on the day of their presentation. Presentations should not exceed 15 minutes.
The report should be word-processed (3,000 to 4,000 words in length), and should address the following:
Part 1: Description of organization and decision problem
Describe the organization and the decision problem.
• What are the organization’s goals?
• How is the problem impacting on the ability of the organization to meet those goals?
• How structured is the problem?
• Where does the problem lie on the Gorry and Scott-Morton framework?
Part 2: The decision-making process
Discuss the decision-making process using Simon’s four-phase framework (described in lectures, and in Section 2.4 to 2.8 of the Turban, Sharda and Delen text).
• How was the problem identified?
• Whose problem is it?
• Can the problem be classified into a standard category? If so, what type of problem is it?
• How could the problem be modelled (e.g., data-driven modelling, optimization, simulation, etc.?)
• What are some of the alternatives?
• What are the decision variables?
• What is the principal of choice?
Part 3: Description of Solution and Sample Data
In Part 2, you should have identified a number of alternative solutions. In this part of the report you should describe in detail the particular solution that you have implemented, and the data that you have used to test it.
1. The specific details that you include will depend on the type of solution that you have designed. For example, if your solution is more model-oriented (e.g., based on simulation), then you will need to describe the formulas and equations used to perform the calculations, simulations, etc.; if your solution is more data-oriented, then you will need to focus on the data mining techniques that you are applying. Include screen shots (e.g., of Excel, WEKA, etc. screens to assist your description).
2. You must include a description of the data and any other information that you have used in your model. For example, for data-oriented solutions you will probably have created a .csv file to store your raw data. Describe this data (e.g., number of records, number of fields, types of fields, etc.) If you acquired this data from some existing data source, identify the source. If you created mock data, describe the criteria which guided your choices. The complete data set that you used should be included as an appendix to the report.
3. The data should be realistic. In most cases you will probably have to invent mock data, and in such a case you should make sure that the sample data is similar to the real data that you might expect to observe in this type of problem scenario. In regards to the amount of data that you use, this need not be excessive, but should be sufficient to test your solution.
Part 4: Evaluation
Evaluate the success of your solution.
• How well does it solve the problem that you have identified?
• What are its advantages?
• What are its shortcomings?
• How could the solution be improved?
• The problem that you select must not be trivial. It should be a problem for which computerized support is genuinely required. Problems deemed to be overly simple will not receive good marks.
• The ‘guide questions’ included above are intended solely to provide you with ideas to help you generate your discussions. Do not treat these as a ‘checklist’. Make your discussions as in-depth as is appropriate for your problem/solution.
Oral Presentation Guidelines
The presentation should be around 10 to 15 minutes in duration. It should address each of the four parts covered in the report, but should focus on describing the solution that you have developed, and its evaluation. You might imagine that you are a team of employees who has been asked to describe your proposed solution to your CIO. How well can you convince the CIO of the merit of your solution?
Your assignment will be based on both your written report and your oral presentation. The written report will be marked based on how well it addresses each of the parts identified above, and will also include a component based how well the paper has been structured, formatted and presented. The oral presentation will also be based on how well you describe the four parts presented above, but will also contain a component based on the professionalism of your presentation, and ability to answer questions. Marked assignments should be available in the week following your group’s presentation.