MIT Lincoln Laboratory announces publication of
new book on decision support

Image of cover of Decision Making Under UncertaintyMIT Lincoln Laboratory, through a partnership with MIT Press, has published the third volume in the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Series, a set of books presenting the Laboratory's fundamental research conducted in support of national security. Authored by Lincoln Laboratory experts, often with contributions from eminent colleagues in academia and industry, the books are intended as resources for researchers, engineers, and university educators and students.

The latest book, Decision Making Under Uncertainty, is an introduction to the development of automated decision support systems. These systems provide quantitatively determined recommendations to decision makers weighing solutions to problems, such as wildfire responses or aircraft collision avoidance, that are complicated by imperfect data and uncertain outcomes. The first part of the book familiarizes readers with the foundations of probabilistic models and decision theory. In the later chapters, authors from a cross section of fields, including informatics, speech recognition, and air traffic control, discuss how the models and theory were applied to real-world challenges.

Decision Making Under Uncertainty can be used as a reference for professional researchers and as a text for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in disciplines ranging from computer science to electrical and aerospace engineering to operations research. According to reviewer Michael Littman, a professor of computer science at Brown University, the book is "a thorough and authoritative treatment of the mathematics of planning and reasoning under uncertainty" and would be "a terrific text for a semester-long course on the subject of algorithmic decision making." The book's computational perspective of decision theory does require readers to have some experience in probability theory and calculus.

The book evolved from a course of the same name taught by Mykel Kochenderfer, then a researcher at Lincoln Laboratory and now a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University. Kochenderfer served as the technical editor for this book and authored most of the foundational chapters as well as one on an innovative system for airborne collision avoidance. His coauthors come from Lincoln Laboratory, various universities, and Boeing Research and Technology.

The book may be purchased online through MIT Press at

Posted August 2015

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