Professor Ron Howard defined the field of decision analysis in 1964, and continues to lead research at Stanford. Although many people make personal decisions instinctively and haphazardly, a more serious approach essential for management is to analyze the problem as a three-legged structure of preferences, alternatives and available information in the context of a frame.
The mission of the Engineering Risk Research Group, led by department Professor M. Elisabeth Pate-Cornell, is the analysis, mathematical modeling and management of the safety of engineering systems using probabilistic methods and systems analysis. Recently, the members of the ERRG have extended the application of these methods to the domains of medical operations and devices, national security and the strategy of firms in the financial industry with the objective of identifying the most cost-effective risk-reduction measures within these complex systems. Technical, organizational and strategic solutions are considered, and decision analysis is often used to make the final choice among a spectrum of risk-mitigation options.