Decision and Information Sciences Argonne Logo

Research Areas:

   Energy, Environment, and
   Economics

   National and Homeland
   Security

   Infrastructure Assurance

   Emergency Preparedness

   Social Dynamics

   Policy Analysis


Core Capabilities:

   Systems Analysis

   Modeling, Simulation, and
   Visualization

   Complex Adaptive Systems

   Decision Support and Risk
   Management

   Information Sciences

Maps to DIS

Systems Analysis

A system “…is composed of interacting parts that operate together to achieve some objective or purpose. It is intended to absorb inputs, process them in some way and produce outputs defined by goals, objectives or common purposes.” — University of Missouri at St. Louis

Complex systems “…cannot be understood by studying parts in isolation. The very essence of the system lies in the interaction between parts and the overall behavior that emerges from the interactions. The system must be analyzed as a whole.” — Northwestern University

Systems analysis is “…a systematic investigation of a real or planned system to determine the functions of the system and how they relate to each other and to any other system.” Its objective is “to provide information to … decision-makers that would sharpen their judgment and provide the basis for more informed choices.” — RAND Corporation

Argonne’s systems analysis work has been used to guide decisions on issues of national, regional, local, and global significance. Argonne is known as a center of excellence for multidisciplinary systems analysis. Our research focuses on:

  • Physical Infrastructures
  • Business and Market Operations
  • Social and Cultural Group Interactions
  • Environmental Systems
  • Legal and Regulatory Structures

In its most general form, the systems analysis approach involves the generation of information for use by decision makers.

The methodology seeks to answer key questions:

  • Problem Formulation: What is the problem we are trying to solve? What are the system boundaries?
  • Establish Objectives and Select Criteria: What are we trying to achieve? What will we use to determine what is good or bad?
  • Determine Resources and Constraints: What resources are available to us? What limitations do we face?
  • Develop Alternatives: What options do we have?
  • Apply Evaluation Methodology: What do the numbers show?
  • Present Results to Decision Maker: What are the alternatives and how do they compare to each other?

Logic: Information to decision makers

Argonne has developed state-of-the-art tools and methodologies for conducting systems analyses, including:

  • Computer simulation models to conduct “electronic experiments” on system behavior
  • Decision analysis techniques to quantify objectives and risk preferences
  • Information management tools to handle large volumes of data
  • Agent-based modeling of complex adaptive systems

Argonne has applied its systems analysis expertise to a wide range of issues, including:

  • Energy system operation and capacity expansion
  • Critical infrastructure protection
  • National security
  • Emergency planning and response
  • Consumer behavior
  • Hazardous material transport
  • Climate change

For more information, contact:
Michael Samsa
Decision and Information Sciences Division
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 South Cass Ave., Bldg. 900
Argonne, IL 60439
Phone: 630-252-4961
Fax: 630-252-1548
E-mail Michael Samsa

Related Information

Associated Projects

Modeling and Analysis of Value of Advanced Pumped Storage Hydropower in the U.S.

Electricity Market Complex Adaptive System

Multi-Agent Simulation of Hydrogen Transition Issues

Energy and Power Evaluation Program (ENPEP)

Generation and Transmission Maximization (GTMAX)

Selected Publications

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