This paper proposes that data envelopment analysis (DEA) should be viewed as a method (or tool) for data-oriented analytics in performance evaluation and benchmarking. While computational algorithms have been developed to deal with large volumes of data (decision making units, inputs, and outputs) under the conventional DEA, valuable information hidden in big data that are represented by network structures should be extracted by DEA. These network structures, e.g., transportation and logistics systems, encompass a broader range of inter-linked metrics that cannot be modelled by conventional DEA. It is proposed that network DEA is related to the value dimension of big data. It is shown that network DEA is different from standard DEA, although it bears the name of DEA and some similarity with conventional DEA. Network DEA is big data enabled analytics (big DEA) when multiple (performance) metrics or attributes are linked through network structures. These network structures are too large or complex to be dealt with by conventional DEA. Unlike conventional DEA that are solved via linear programming, general network DEA corresponds to nonconvex optimization problems. This represents opportunities for developing techniques for solving non-linear network DEA models. Areas such as transportation and logistics system as well as supply chains have a great potential to use network DEA in big data modeling.
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The author thanks anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive suggestions and comments on an earlier version of the paper. Earlier versions of the paper were presented at the Data Envelopment Analysis International Conference (June 28–30, 2019, Canterbury, UK) and the 2019 International Conference on Intelligent Transportation and Logistics with Big Data and the 7th International Forum on Decision Sciences, July 26–29, 2019, Windsor, Canada. The author is grateful for the comments and suggestions provided by the conference participants.
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Zhu, J. DEA under big data: data enabled analytics and network data envelopment analysis. Ann Oper Res (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10479-020-03668-8
- Data envelopment analysis (DEA)
- Data enabled analytics
- Big data
- Composite index