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Juhnyoung Lee <[log in to unmask]>
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Juhnyoung Lee <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 16 Aug 2001 14:35:17 -0400
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Introducing a information visualization research prototype from IBM

ABSolute: X-Ray Vision for Intelligent Procurement

Download available at
More information available at

ABSolute is a general-purpose multi-attribute decision support system. The
current system focuses on e-procurement in a B2B commerce context,
providing corporate buyers with intelligent decision support functions, for
example, evaluating RFQ bids from suppliers. ABSolute will transform
sourcing into a vastly more efficient process by satisfying complicated
decision analysis needs for e-Sourcing. It provides unrivaled buyer side
decision support by evaluating and scoring weighted preferences of multiple
attributes such as quality, delivery condition, warranty period, contract
terms, supplier rating, and price. Besides using traditional scoring
mechanisms used by other sourcing decision support tools, ABSolute allows
users to interact with the system to determine the weights of multiple
attributes through the use of partial ordinal rankings of supplier offers.

ABSolute provides a visual user interface which is a sophisticated
communication mechanism that adds value and meaning,  illuminates,
simplifies, and clarifies information on the screen. The visual interface
lets buyers view, explore, discover, search, compare, and classify
submitted bid offers. Instead of offering an unexplained solution from a
black-box algorithm, ABSolute provides understanding and accounting for why
certain offers are better than others. As a result, it helps users make
purchase decisions with confidence. For interactive analysis, the system
provides a set of analysis capabilities for pareto optimality analysis, and
similarity search for what-if analysis. Furthermore, it provides a set of
useful visual facilities including dynamic filtering and querying, tagging,
color-coding, and zooming. It provides a customizable tree-view for
Purchase Request specification as well as a table-view for displaying
submitted offers.

When using traditional multi-attribute scoring methods, decision makers
often face difficulties in assigning appropriate weights to attributes,
resulting in inconsistent end results. Weights assigned to such attributes
by people are prone to subjective variance and would therefore be different
from person to person, or situation by situation. To overcome this,
ABSolute provides an innovative approach, where decision makers only
provide partial ordinal rankings over subsets of offers. The visual
interface of ABSolute helps users examine and select subsets of offers, and
create and arrange multiple partial ordinal rankings. From the information
implied by these ordinal rankings, the system derives a set of attribute
weights, and then an overall ranking of all the given offers.

Download available at
More information available at

Juhnyoung Lee, Ph.D.
IBM T. J. Watson Research Center
P. O. Box 218
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
e-Mail: [log in to unmask]

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