Title: Environmental decision-making under uncertainty using a biologically-inspired simulation-optimisation algorithm for generating alternative perspectives

Authors: Raha Imanirad; Xin-She Yang; Julian Scott Yeomans

Addresses: OMIS Area, Schulich School of Business, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3 Canada ' Department of Design Engineering and Mathematics, School of Science and Technology, Middlesex University, Hendon Campus, London NW4 4BT, UK ' OMIS Area, Schulich School of Business, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3 Canada

Abstract: In solving many environmental policy formulation applications, it is generally preferable to formulate several quantifiably good alternatives that provide multiple, disparate approaches to the problem. This is because environmental decision-making typically involves complex problems that are riddled with incompatible performance objectives and possess competing design requirements which are very difficult - if not impossible - to quantify and capture at the time when supporting decision models must be constructed. By generating a set of maximally different solutions, it is hoped that some of the dissimilar alternatives can provide very different perspectives that may serve to satisfy the unmodelled objectives. This maximally different solution creation approach is referred to as modelling to generate-alternatives (MGA). This paper provides a biologically-inspired metaheuristic simulation-optimisation MGA method that can efficiently create multiple solution alternatives to environmental problems containing significant stochastic uncertainties that satisfy required system performance criteria and yet are maximally different in their decision spaces. The efficacy of this stochastic MGA approach for environmental policy formulation is demonstrated using a municipal solid waste case study. It is shown that this new computationally efficient algorithmic approach can simultaneously produce the desired number of maximally different solution alternatives in a single computational run of the procedure.

Keywords: modelling to generate alternatives; MGA; biologically-inspired metaheuristics; firefly algorithm; environmental decision making; stochastic uncertainty; simulation; optimisation; environmental policy formulation; municipal solid waste; MSW; case study.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2016.077609

International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, 2016 Vol.11 No.1, pp.38 - 59

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 07 Jul 2016 *

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