All of us frequently encounter decision-making problems in every day life. Based on our observations regarding a certain phenomenon, we need to select a particular course of action from a set of possible options. This problem involving a single decision maker is typically a difficult one. Decision making in large-scale systems consisting of multiple decision makers is an even more challenging problem. Group decision-making structures are found in many real world situations. Application areas include financial institutions, air-traffic control, oil exploration, medical diagnosis, military command and control, electric power networks, weather prediction, and industrial organizations. For example, a medical doctor may order multiple diagnostic tests and seek additional peer opinions before a major surgical procedure is carried out, or a military commander may use data from radar and IR sensors along with intelligence information while deciding whether or not to launch an offensive. In many applications, multiple decision makers arise naturally, e.g., managers in an industrial organization. In many other applications, additional decision makers are employed to improve system performance. For example, deployment of multiple sensors for signal detection in a military surveillance application improves system survivability, results in improved detection performance or in a shorter decision time to attain a prespecified performance level, and may provide increased coverage in terms of surveillance region and number of targets.
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