Human in the Loop
Human In The Loop

A human decision maker is in the “loop” for each decision.

There are two common approaches to harnessing optimization into a decision making process in a modern organization:  Black Box and Human-In-the-Loop.

By Human-in-the-Loop, we mean that the ultimate decision will be made by a person using the optimization as a tool.  The complexities of this approach include:

  • How to show not just what but why an optimization model is recommending a certain action,
  • Especially when the user is non-technical (i.e., does not understand optimization)
  • How to allow the user to easily audit input data and provide appropriate ways to fix data errors for better results
  • How to allow the user to interact more with the optimization model – ideally providing ranked choices rather than a single recommendation.

Examples of Human-in-the Loop Optimization are:

  • Providing optimization-based answers to senior executives setting company strategy for the service network company
  • Shipping customers using the freight railroad's optimization system to route and purchase freight transportation
  • Providing the airline's planners and traffic controllers with optimized alternatives they can use to integrate with non-computerized data (such as conversations with the cockpit).