Analytic Hierarchy Process
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A simple AHP hierarchy, with final priorities. The goal is to select the most suitable priorities. leader from a field of three candidates. The factors to be considered are Experience,Education, Charisma, and Age. According to the judgments of the decision makers, Dick is the strongest candidate, followed by Tom, then Harry. Their decision process is described in depth in an appendix to this article. article
The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is a structured technique for dealing with complex decisions. Rather than prescribing a "correct" decision, decisions. the AHP helpsdecision makers find one that best suits their goal and their understanding of the problem it is a process of organizing decisions that problem—it people are already dealing with, but trying to do in their heads. Based on mathematics and psychology, the AHP was developed by Thomas , L. Saaty in the 1970s and has been extensively studied and refined since then. It provides a comprehensive andrational framework for structuring a
decision problem, for representing and quantifying its elements, for relating those elements to overall goals, and for evaluating alternative solutions. It has particular application in group decision making, and is used around the world in a wide variety of decision situations, in fields such as government, business, industry, healthcare, and education.Several firms supply computer software to assist in using the process. Users of the AHP first decompose their decision problem into a hierarchy of more easily comprehended sub-problems, each of which can be analyzed independently. The elements of the hierarchy can relate to any aspect of the decision problem—tangible or intangible, carefully measured or roughly estimated, well- orpoorly-understood—anything at all that applies to the decision at hand. Once the hierarchy is built, the decision makers systematically evaluate its various elements by comparing them to one another two at a time, with respect to their impact on an element above them in the hierarchy. In making the comparisons, the decision makers can use concrete data about the elements, or they can use their judgments about theelements' relative meaning and importance. It is the essence of the AHP that human judgments, and not just the underlying information, can be used in performing the evaluations. The AHP converts these evaluations to numerical values that can be processed and compared over the entire range of the problem. A numerical weight or priority is derived for each element of the hierarchy, allowing diverse andoften incommensurable elements to be compared to one another in a rational and consistent way. This capability distinguishes the AHP from other decision making techniques. In the final step of the process, numerical priorities are calculated for each of the decision alternatives. These numbers represent the alternatives' relative ability to achieve the decision goal, so they allow astraightforward consideration of the various courses of action.
Uses and applications
While it can be used by individuals working on straightforward decisions, the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is most useful where teams of people are
working on complex problems, especially those with high stakes, involving human perceptions and judgments, whose resolutions have long-term repercussions. It hasunique advantages when important elements of the decision are difficult to quantify or compare, or where communication among team members is impeded by their different specializations, terminologies, or perspectives. Decision situations to which the AHP can be applied include: Choice - The selection of one alternative from a given set of alternatives, usually where there are multiple decision...