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Decision Science

Decision Science

Decision Science uses mathematical tools and reasoning to improve and guide decision making in all aspects of human endeavor, including industry, finance and public policy. Decision problems commonly involve uncertainty, multiple conflicting objectives, and risk. Decision Science draws heavily on the fields of operations research, statistics, probability, economics, game theory, finance as well as other areas of mathematics to model these problems and to reason through their potential solutions to provide recommendations to relevant stakeholders. Decision Science is represented across the Claremont Consortium. In addition to pursuing their own research problems, Claremont faculty also engage in consulting practice, using their mathematical modeling skills to solve problems in public policy and business. The Financial Engineering program at CGU focuses on developing models for financial processes to guide businesses and traders.

The Consortium has a number of faculty members in the fields of statistics and operations research and Engineering Economics. To name a few: Professor Jo Hardin, a statistician at Pomona College, has studied several problems in the area of biostatistics, and is currently developing new statistical techniques for analyzing genetic microarray data. Professor Susan Martonosi of Harvey Mudd College develops mathematical models to guide homeland security policy. Professor Henry Schellhorn’s research at CGU is in credit risk management and combinatorial auctions. Professor Talithia Williams at HMC develops statistical models for analyzing rainfall data to support urban planning. There are several additional faculty who have research interests related to decision analysis. For example, at Harvey Mudd College faculty are engaged in research on game theory and fair divisions, voting theory, and cancer therapy.

Students as well as faculty are active in decision science. Several students each year across the colleges complete actuarial exams through the Society of Actuaries. These exams prepare students to apply probability, statistics and economics to solve decision problems in the insurance industry. Math Clinic projects are inherently focused on solving problems in decision science. Students at all the Claremont Colleges and CGU participate in clinic projects designed to answer mathematically related challenges that arise in industry, business, or government.

In addition to working on problems brought to the students via industry, faculty are actively engaged in research projects in collaboration with students. Also, students at the Claremont Colleges engage in one-on-one or group research projects with faculty through summer research experiences (such as the Claremont Colleges Mathematics REU), independent study courses and the senior thesis capstone experience. Often this research culminates in publications in peer-reviewed journals co-authored by the students and faculty. Professor Jo Hardin has several publications in both statistical and biological journals which were co-authored with undergraduate students. Students of Professor Susan Martonosi have presented their research on homeland security policy at national mathematical and operations research conferences. The research group of Professors Lisette dePillis and Weiqing Gu was invited to present their cancer modeling research at the Coalition for National Science Funding 2007 meeting, attended by scientists and representatives from Congress.