Physics of Decision: Application to Polling Place Risk Management

Managing a system involves defining, assessing, and trying to reach objectives. Objectives are often measured using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). In the context of instability (crisis, global pandemic, or just everyday uncertainty), managers have to adapt to multi-dimensional complex situations.

This article introduces an innovative approach of risk and opportunity management to help managers in their decision-making processes. Using AnyLogic as a risk analysis software, the researchers proposed “physics of decision” (POD) approach, that enables managers to deal with the considered system’s performance trajectory by viewing and assessing the impact of potentialities (risks and opportunities). Potentiality impacts are designed by forces, modifying the system’s performance trajectory and its position within its multi-dimensional KPI framework.

The POD approach requires two different modeling spaces:

  • description framework — describes the system and its environment.
  • The objective of this framework is to represent the nature of the modeled system, by positioning it within its significant attribute dimensions, that represent the characteristics and properties of this system.

  • performance framework, that is dedicated to observe the performance of the considered system by viewing and merging the impact of modelled potentialities on system’s performance.
  • These potentialities, depending on their nature, create forces that move the system away from or towards its target values.

Description (left) and Performance (right) Frameworks
Description (left) and Performance (right) Frameworks

This approach is illustrated by an application to polling place risk management in the context of the 2020 presidential election in the USA.

This paper presents the results of simulations of a place confronting pre-identified risks within a KPI framework.

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