Data & Decision Making
Data and Decision-making
From climate change to transnational epidemics, the greatest challenges facing our world today are “wicked problems” that require sophisticated approaches to gaining insight and making decisions with large volumes of data. ASU applies cutting-edge expertise in data modeling, analysis and visualization to enable and improve decision-making, tackling problems that span disciplines including the sciences, engineering, policy, law, social sciences and humanities. The university’s globally unique capabilities allow policymakers to reach informed conclusions about how to tackle challenges in resource management, governance, disaster prevention and response, and public health. These knowledge assets in advanced data modeling, analysis and visualization can serve as important resources for taking on international development challenges. Some of ASU’s specific capabilities include:
- The Global Security Initiative is a university-wide, transdisciplinary research hub that addresses emerging global challenges. GSI takes on wicked problems, marked by conflicting objectives, complex interdependencies, and no obvious solutions, in four focus areas—climate impact, cybersecurity, decision making, and human security.
- The Decision Center for a Desert City was established at ASU in 2004 by the National Science Foundation to advance scientific understanding of environmental decision-making under conditions of uncertainty, organized around water and other environmental resource decisions in complex, dynamic urban systems. The center develops fundamental knowledge about decision-making from interdisciplinary perspectives including climate uncertainty, urban systems and adaptation decisions.
- Decision Theater is a world-class research facility and decision lab for exploring and understanding decision-making under uncertainty. The theater’s unique seven-screen immersive environment allows decision-makers to look at complex data, models and visualizations in novel ways. In low-technology settings, the technology can also be effectively deployed using computer tablets.
Decision Support System in Pernambuco, Brazil
In Pernambuco, Brazil, ASU’s Decision Center for a Desert City and School of Human Evolution and Social Change are working with local and regional partners, the Inter-American Development Bank, Columbia University, and RTI to promote integrated water resource management to address drought vulnerability and respond to climate change. The project utilizes participatory strategies to bring stakeholders together to cooperatively produce decision support systems and science-based solutions, enhance social learning, and build technical capacity to promote and encourage participation in climate-sensitive water management practices. The Decision Support System project is grounded in transdisciplinary sustainability science approaches drawing upon the fields of hydrology, visualization, and social and decision sciences. Cooperative development with local stakeholders in Pernambuco, Brazil ensures that solutions are credible, relevant to policy needs and representative of diverse stakeholder perspectives.
Top view of Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco, Brazil/Gustavo Frazao/Shutterstock