Reasoning and learning systems LO13189

Stein, Roger (
Fri, 11 Apr 97 11:19:00 EDT

My colleague, Vasant Dhar, and I have just finished a short book on
applying intelligent and adaptive systems to business problems. It may be
of interest to others working in the field. There are two versions of the
book available, one is suited to business people and one is suited to

The book provides a practical methodology for mapping business problems
onto solutions involving neural networks, genetic algorithms,
nearest-neighbor algorithms, etc. We also provide extended case studies of
organizations that have successfully done this.

The reaction to the book, in both the academic and professional community,
seems to be favorable:

"Intelligent Systems are becoming vital at all levels of management from
the CEO to the foreman. Dhar and Stein provide one of the clearest and
most accessible treatments to date of the subject."

- Herbert A. Simon, Nobel Laureate

"Seven Methods effectively bridges the gap between lofty technical
explanation and the down-to-earth business application of a brand new
world of modeling technologies."
- Win Farrell, Partner, Coopers and Lybrand

A brief summary of the book follows:

Seven Methods for Transforming Corporate Data into Business Intelligence
combines a thorough treatment of techniques for applying intelligent
systems to decision support with a practical framework for analyzing
business problems. Vasant Dhar (Principal, Morgan Stanley and New York
University) and Roger Stein (Vice President, Moody s Investors Service and
New York University) present in clear and vivid terms the essentials of
modern decision support.

Seven Methods takes a three stage approach to discussing these new
technologies. The book is organized around:

? A framework for analyzing business decision problems and mapping solutions
onto them
? An intuitive but full discussion of the technologies for data mining and
automated decision systems
? A series of extensive case studies that show, using the framework, how
major organizations have made use of these technologies

In addition to discussing technologies, Dhar and Stein introduce a unified
methodology for analyzing organizations business problems and evaluating
potential solutions.

This framework, based on the authors years of combined experience applying
intelligent systems to real business decision problems, encourages
business people to think critically about how the strengths and weaknesses
of each technique relate to the particular dynamics of an organization and
its problems. The authors show not only when a particular modeling method
may be useful, but also when its attributes might make it undesirable for
a particular problem.

The text does not limit itself to one or a few techniques, but rather
views various AI and database techniques as components of a toolbox that,
if used correctly, can make organizations dramatically more intelligent.

Seven Methods provides accessible detailed coverage of

? OLAP and data warehousing
? Genetic algorithms
? Neural networks
? Rule-based expert systems
? Fuzzy systems
? Case-based reasoning
? Machine learning

The text adopts an informal, conversational style in their exposition.
Despite the relaxed style, the book delves into the subtle aspects of each
technique while keeping the text readable and non-technical.

In order to make the material more accessible, the text makes frequent use
of rich graphics. The graphical representation of complex concepts are
invaluable in elucidating these topics.

To drive home the discussions of modeling techniques and organizational
dynamics, the book also provides extended case studies that show in detail
how the framework can be applied to analyzing the problems of real

Cases are taken from the experience of firms in a diversity of industries
solving an assortment of problems.

Firms include:

? Moody s Investors Service
? Compaq Computer Corp.
? LBS Capital Management
? NYNEX, Inc.
? Kaufhof AG
? A. C. Neilsen

Problem domains include:
? customer service
? scheduling
? data mining
? financial market prediction
? quality control
? consumer product marketing

The book is available from Prentice-Hall:

(Professional version) Seven Methods for Transforming Corporate Data into
Business Intelligence, Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice-Hall, 1997.
(Academic version) Intelligent Decision Support Methods: The Science of
Knowledge Work, Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice-Hall, 1997.

Online Orders:
Phone: 1-(800) 643-5506. Please give the operator the following "key code":
FAX: 1-(800) 835-5327.


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