The Explainer: A Software Aid to Solve Complex Problems

DSM 14 Proceedings of the 16th International DSM conference: Risk and Change management in complex systems

Year: 2014
Editor: Marle, F.; Jankovic, M.; Maurer, M.; Schmidt, D. M.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Steward, D. V.
Series: DSM
Section: Methods and Complexity Management
Page(s): 23-34


This paper concerns using cause-and-effects to explain what causes behaviors. By explaining what would cause a requirement specification, the causes can be used as a design. The Explainer can also be used for applying engineering thinking to solving complex social problems. Advanced technologies have now allowed us to create highly interconnected engineering systems and social situations that have become increasingly difficult to either understand or control. The Explainer uses a computer program to extend our abilities to deal with very complex problems. People are good at developing the cause-and-effects, but abysmal at putting enough of them together logically to solve complex problems. The Explainer is a computer program to help people collaborate to formulate the cause-and-effects and then does the logic to put the cause-and-effects together to gain an understanding and propose solutions to the problem. It shows how it drew its conclusions so that the cause-and-effects can be improved.

Keywords: cause-and-effects, logic, engineering design, complex social problems

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