General document | Decision Maker User Guide


Decision Maker is a prototype software tool developed by Maritime Platforms Division (MPD) of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) that can be applied to most multi-criteria decision-making problems. Decision Maker is a software implementation of the Criteria Importance Through Intercriteria Correlation (CRITIC) decision-making technique. The decision-making problems use a set of criteria and objectives to select the most preferred alternative in a set of alternatives. In most problems there are conflicting criteria/objectives and therefore, complex trade-offs have to be made between competing alternatives. This is where Decision Maker can be used. This user guide will assist and inform users on how they can structure their decision problems in the required format for Decision Maker.


Decision Maker is an objective decision-making tool that can be used in most multi-criteria decision-making problems, in particular, where a holistic approach is required in preference to the subjective and ad-hoc processes that are often applied. Decision Maker will help defence planners deal with the complexities of military planning by providing a sound scientific platform to assist in decision analysis in a timely manner, as well as providing the decision-maker with a documented quantifiable justification for their decision basis. Examples where Decision Maker can be applied include:

  • selecting the most preferred product, tender, service or company that best satisfies the specified requirements, criteria or objectives (i.e. procurement); and
  • ranking the performance of systems, components or items using combinations of several performance measurements.

Unlike most other products, the key to Decision Maker is that it does not use subjective criteria to aid in the decision-making process. At the time of writing, there is no other software on the market that incorporates all of the features of Decision Maker, in particular, the use of the objective criteria weight method and genetic algorithms for sensitivity analysis. The essential elements of Decision Maker include:

  • the use of sophisticated mathematical analysis techniques to identify conflicts in data input by the user;
  • criteria and objectives do not have to be independent;
  • a cardinal and ordinal ranking of alternatives;
  • the removal of dependency on personal preferences of the decision-maker, which results in informed and quantifiable decision choices;
  • a unique sensitivity analysis component using leading edge Artificial Intelligence techniques to provide analysis for 'what if' situations;
  • a simulation engine that allows the decision to be modelled with uncertainties and tolerance levels for criteria;
  • advanced simulation reporting analysis in tabular and graphical format that provides a method to quickly identify the superior alternatives;
  • advanced graphical analysis tools that allow the decision-maker to compare alternative criteria and objectives in a meaningful and timely manner; and
  • graphical analysis tools that provide a method of determining complex relationships and trends within the criteria/objective data.

This user guide will assist and inform users on how they can structure their decision problems in the required format for Decision Maker.


Key information


Carl Costolloe, Moya Tyndall and Anthony Woolley

Publication type

General document

Publish Date

April 2012


Unclassified - public release


Decision Making, CRITIC, PROACT