, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 1-36

Making and validating complex decisions with the AHP/ANP

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Several examples that serve to validate the AHP/ANP with matrices hierarchies and networks are given in this paper. They are then followed by a discussion of the real numbers and how they are generated without the need for an absolute zero, and how they define an absolute scale of measurement that also does not need an absolute zero. In the AHP/ANP the measurement of an alternative depends on what other alternatives it is compared with. The result is that rank can change if alternatives are added or deleted, something that does not occur in one-at-a-time rating of the alternatives by comparing them with an ideal. An example is provided to show that this is natural and need not involve new criteria or change in judgments. A brief discussion of Utility Theory, the other multi-criteria theory, which uses interval scales to measure intangibles and some of its problems and paradoxes, is given. The references at the end include most of the papers that are adverse to the AHP with brief comments about several of them given in the paper.

Thomas L. Saaty is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, holds the Chair of University Professor, Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, and obtained his Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University. Before that he was a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for ten years. Prior to that he spent seven years at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the State Department in Washington, DC, that carried out the arms reduction negotiations with the Soviets in Geneva. His current research interests include decision-making, planning, conflict resolution and synthesis in the brain. As a result of his search for an effective means to deal with weapons tradeoffs at the Disarmament Agency and, more generally, with decision-making and resource allocation, Professor Saaty developed The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and its generalization to dependence and feedback, the Analytic Network Process (ANP). He is co-developer of the software Expert Choice and of the software Super Decisions for decisions with dependence and feedback. He has authored or co-authored twelve books on the AHP/ANP. Professor Saaty has also written a number of other books that embrace a variety of topics, including Modern Nonlinear Equations, Nonlinear Mathematics, Graph Theory, The Four Color Problem, Behavioral Mathematics, Queuing Theory, Optimization in Integers, Embracing the Future and The Brain: Unraveling the Mystery of How It Works. His most recent book is Creative Thinking, Problem Solving & Decision Making. The book is a rich collection of ideas, incorporating research by a growing body of researchers and practitioners, profiles of creative people, projects and products, theory, philosophy, physics and metaphysics...all explained with a liberal dose of humor. He has published more than 300 refereed articles in a wide variety of professional journals. He has been on the editorial boards of Mathematical Reviews, Operations Research, Naval Research Logistics Quarterly, Mathematical and Computer Modeling, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Applied Mathematics Letters, and several others. He also served as consultant to many corporations and government.