Archive ScienceWatch

Serafim Opricovic & Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng talks with and answers a few questions about this month's Emerging Research Front Paper in the field of Economics & Business.
Opricovic Article: Compromise solution by MCDM methods: A comparative analysis of VIKOR and TOPSIS
Authors: Opricovic, S;Tzeng, GH
Journal: EUR J OPER RES, 156 (2): 445-455 JUL 16 2004
Addresses: Natl Chiao Tung Univ, Inst Management Technol, 1001 Ta Hsueh Rd, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan.
Natl Chiao Tung Univ, Inst Management Technol, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan.
Fac Civil Engn, YU-11000 Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

Why do you think your paper is highly cited?

Serafim Opricovic:

Three keywords attract the reader's attention: Compromise (as one of the conflict resolution methodologies), VIKOR (a new method for multicriteria decision-making), and TOPSIS (technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution). The basic principle is that the chosen alternative should have the shortest distance from the ideal solution and the farthest distance from the negative-ideal solution.

Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng:

We propose and explain a novel compromise ranking method, also known as VIKOR (VIšekriterijumsko KOmpromisno Rangiranje) for comparison with the TOPSIS (Total Order Preference by Similarity to the Ideal Solution) method in the MCDM (Multiple Criteria Decision Making). We can use the basic concept of the VIKOR method and combine DEMATEL (Decision Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory) technique for extending the VIKOR method to evaluate the rankings and improve the gaps of performances for achieving the aspired/desired levels (values).

We also compared VIKOR with TOPSIS methods and found that the VIKOR method can be used to rank alternatives and to improve the gaps of each criterion for achieving the aspired/desired level. Therefore, this paper will likely become an important source in solving MADM (Multiple Attribute Decision Making) problems for evaluating, improving, or selecting alternatives in order to achieve the aspired/desired levels (values) based on the DEMATEL technique combined with the VIKOR method. I think this paper and many other related papers from my research group have also been highly cited because they can be extensively applied toward solving practical problems in the real world.

Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or synthesis of knowledge?

The MCDM methods VIKOR and TOPSIS are based on an aggregating/synthesizing function representing "closeness/gap to ideal or to aspired/desired level," an idea which originated in the compromise programming method outlined by P. L. Yu and M. Zeleny in 1971. Linear normalization in VIKOR and vector normalization in TOPSIS is used to eliminate the units of criteria functions.

Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng
Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng

A new discovery of VIKOR method for compromise ranking or improving/reducing the gaps of each criterion determines a compromise solution, providing a maximum "group utility" for the "majority" and a minimum of an individual regret for the "opponent." The TOPSIS method determines a solution with the shortest distance to the ideal solution and the greatest distance from the negative-ideal solution.

A comparative analysis of these two methods is illustrated with a numerical example, showing the similarity and some differences. We also discovered that TOPSIS can not be used in rankings, but can be used to measure the achieved level and to analyze/improve how we can get the minimal gaps in each criterion.

We further developed a new hybrid method which combined DEMATEL technique with the VIKOR method to probe how to use qualitative and quantitative measurements for real problems to create/improve plan indexes and criteria, as well as how to help these indexes achieve the aspired/desired levels for each criterion based on the basic concept outlined in this paper.

Would you summarize the significance of your paper in layman's terms?

Serafim Opricovic:

The new VIKOR method for conflict resolution determines a compromise solution, providing a maximum "group utility" for the "majority" and a minimum of individual regret from the "opponent." Compromise is a democratic methodology.

Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng:

This useful compromise ranking/improving method (named VIKOR) was developed for the multicriteria optimization of complex systems. However, few papers discuss conflicting (competing) criteria with dependence and feedback in the compromise/solution method. Our paper proposed VIKOR as one applicable technique to implement within MCDM to provide decision makers with an improved method to rank the projects/alternatives and to understand their inherent gaps, in order to improve the large gaps in control items and also to achieve the aspired levels; it has therefore been receiving international attention.

VIKOR is used to help decision-makers make decisions and has set an essential foundation in the compromise ranking study of MCDM. In addition, quite a few papers and researchers have utilized VIKOR combined with other methods to apply to any field in solving real problems of MADM for evaluating, improving, or selecting the best alternatives to achieve aspired/desired levels throughout the world.

How did you become involved in this research and were any particular problems encountered along the way?

Serafim Opricovic:

There are many conflict management situations. Among the numerous approaches available for conflict management, one of the most prevalent is multicriteria decision-making (MCDM). Particular problems arose from various water-related issues, such as drought, flood, contamination, and environmental management.

Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng:

I first became involved with MCDM research in 1973, when I studied for a Doctoral Course in Management Science at Osaka University in Japan. In the real world, decision-makers often simultaneously faced/managed more then one, i.e., multiple criteria/objectives with conflicting and non-commensurable criteria.

Some problems encountered along the way were how could we measure, evaluate, rank, improve, or select these problems for reducing the gaps in order to achieve the aspired/desired levels (or grades) forward to number only one in practical terms. Traditional methods are unsuitable when dealing with these problems so as to reduce or improve the gaps in each dimension/criterion. Thus, the basic concept of this research proposes a novel VIKOR method to minimize the normalized gap/regret.

Where do you see your research leading in the future?

Our research in hybrid MADM methods will continue to be a leader in relaxing and improving the assumption/hypotheses of past approaches for satisfying and meeting real world situations. I'm currently teaching two related courses: "Research Methods for Problems-Solving" and "New frontiers of Multiple Criteria Decision Making."

I will also be publishing a series of four related books, co-authored along with my student Dr. Jih-Jeng Huang, for Taylor & Francis Publishers. Our research offers significant methods for decision-makers from government and business, and also for people whose daily tasks could be improved through the formulating of solutions to the problems at hand, whereby an individual may deduce which solution/alternative is closest to the aspired/desired level (ideal point). I believe that the results of this research will lead individuals toward a better future.

Do you foresee any social or political implications for your research?

Serafim Opricovic:

We would like to see compromise accepted as a sustainable solution in natural resources management. VIKOR is an appropriate tool for compromise solution.

Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng:

I believe that our research of the proposed VIKOR method discussed in this article, combined DEMATEL/ISM technique, can be applied to any field for the purpose of building a network relationship map (NRM) relative to any social or political implication across various viewpoints, dimensions/aspects, or criteria/alternatives.

These concepts can be extended to evaluation, ranking, improving or selecting the best alternative through a novel hybrid MCDM model which addresses dependent relationships among criteria—using a DEMATEL technique along with an analytical network process—to decide the relative weights of criteria, showing inter-dependence and feedback in the real world. There, the VIKOR method is used to evaluate and improve the gaps in each criterion and reduce the gaps in order to achieve the aspired/desired level.

Serafim Opricovic
Faculty of Civil Engineering
University Of Belgrade
Belgrade, Serbia

Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng
National Chiao Tung University
Hsinchu, Taiwan


Download this article

2009 : April 2009 - Emerging Research Fronts : Serafim Opricovic & Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng