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WeightLifter: Visual Weight Space Exploration for Multi-Criteria Decision Making


A common strategy in Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) is to rank alternative solutions by weighted summary scores. Weights, however, are often abstract to the decision maker and can only be set by vague intuition. While previous work supports a point-wise exploration of weight spaces, we argue that MCDM can benefit from a regional and global visual analysis of weight spaces. Our main contribution is WeightLifter, a novel interactive visualization technique for weight-based MCDM that facilitates the exploration of weight spaces with up to ten criteria. Our technique enables users to better understand the sensitivity of a decision to changes of weights, to efficiently localize weight regions where a given solution ranks high, and to filter out solutions which do not rank high enough for any plausible combination of weights. We provide a comprehensive requirement analysis for weight-based MCDM and describe an interactive workflow that meets these requirements. For evaluation, we describe a usage scenario of WeightLifter in automotive engineering and report qualitative feedback from users of a deployed version as well as preliminary feedback from decision makers in multiple domains. This feedback confirms that WeightLifter increases both the efficiency of weight-based MCDM and the awareness of uncertainty in the ultimate decisions.

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Supplemental Material
Journal Paper
Visualization and Data Analysis
Journal or Publication Title
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Page Range
pp. 611-620
January 2017
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