Optimal Experimental Design Methods for Acquiring and Restricting Information to Improve Decision Making

  • Sarah E. WalshEmail author
  • William Sealy
  • Karen M. Feigh
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 1201)


In high-risk, time-pressure domains, the ability to get only salient information is of paramount importance. Missing or superfluous information in these domains can detract from a decision maker’s ability to make correct judgments. Consequently, decision support systems are being developed to facilitate expert decision-making by modifying the information presented to the operator. In this paper we introduce a method for presenting decision makers with the most environment-relevant information for a given decision task. This study explores a statistical method, Bayesian Optimal Experimental Design (OED), as a means of acquiring and restricting information to improve the probability of selecting the correct decision. We use probability gain theory to acquire the most useful piece of information to present to the decision maker, and we extend this to create a probability loss theory that restricts information that does not aid (probabilistically) or aids the least in the decision-making process.


Decision support system Optimal experimental design Information acquisition Information restriction 



This work was supported by the Office of Naval Research Command Decision-making Program under Contract N00014-13-1-0083. The results do not reflect the official position of this agency.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah E. Walsh
    • 1
    Email author
  • William Sealy
    • 1
  • Karen M. Feigh
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Aerospace EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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