Spring 2021 - REM 325 D100
Uncertainty, Risk, and Decision Analysis (3)
Class Number: 7231
Delivery Method: Remote
Course Times + Location:
Tu 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
REMOTE LEARNING, Burnaby
1 778 782-5778
Prerequisites:45 units. Recommended: REM 225 or STAT 201 or STAT 203 or STAT 205 or GEOG 251 or equivalent.
Provides a broad, yet practical, perspective on uncertainty and risk that can be used to improve decision-making abilities in a wide range of settings. Quantitative decision analysis provides a formal approach to accounting for uncertainty in resource and environmental management decision-making.
Environmental decision-makers need to make explicit choices about regulating harmful activities, developing resources, and investing in restoration to meet biological, social and economic objectives across a broad range of stakeholder values. Decisions can be made via ad hoc approaches, usually in response to problems and conflicts as they arise, or by applying the formalism of structured decision-making that anticipates potential problems by explicitly considering objectives, alternative actions, uncertainties, and risks.
Course format: Synchronous lecture and tutorial.
Outline of Topics
Uncertainty and thinking about the future
What do you mean “you are uncertain”?
Types of uncertainty
Uncertainty, probability, and learning
Types of probability
Common probability distributions
Bernstein’s “The remarkable story of risk”
Late lessons from early warnings
Why risk analysis is difficult
Are you risk prone or risk averse?
Stages of risk analysis: perception, assessment, management, communication
Uncertainty, Risk, and Decision Analysis
Ways of deciding
Decision traps and why past performance does not guarantee future success
Quantitative decision analysis
When does uncertainty matter?
Advanced topics: Value of information, Monte Carlo simulation, fragility/anti-fragility, tail risks in natural resource management
COURSE-LEVEL EDUCATIONAL GOALS:
Upon completing Uncertainty, Risk, and Decision Analysis, students will have improved their thinking and decision-making skills in situations involving uncertainty and risk. Specific Learning Objectives in an environmental context include:
2. Quantify uncertainty using Bayesian statistics
3. Explain how uncertainty can create both risks and opportunities
4. Describe the four stages of risk analysis: perception, assessment, management, and communication
5. Explain the precautionary principle and the precautionary approach
6. Identify risk prone and risk averse behavioural types
7. Describe common decision traps
8. Construct simple quantitative decision analyses in MS Excel
9. Identify situations when taking uncertainty into account matters
10.Describe decision concepts including: mini-max/maxi-min decisions, value of information, Monte Carlo simulation,
fragility/anti-fragility, and tail risks in environmental management
- Participation in classes and weekly tutorials (8) 20%
- Major project assignments (2) 50%
- Final exam 30%
Student performance will be evaluated via (approximately) lab assignments, two major project assignments, and a final exam.
A tentative grade scale and grading policy can be found in the REM Undergraduate Grading Guidelines: http://www.sfu.ca/rem/courses/undergraduate.html
- 100% of potential marks if submitted on or before the stated deadline;
- 80% of potential marks if submitted anytime within the first 24 hrs after the stated deadline;
- 0% of potential marks if submitted 24 hrs or more past the stated deadline.
MATERIALS + SUPPLIES:
1. All students will require a laptop in classes and tutorials. The SFU library has free, 4-hr loans of laptops:
b) The campus-wide demand for library laptops is high and the library often runs out quickly. If you need to use the library laptops, you should show-up early at the library check-out
2. MS Excel installed on laptop prior to the first class
REM 325 uses a textbook aimed at a general introduction to decision-making and policy analysis under uncertainty.
Morgan, G. and M. Henrion. 1990. Uncertainty: A Guide to Dealing with Uncertainty in Quantitative Risk and Policy Analysis. Cambridge University Press, 332 pp.
E-textbook is available through: http://www.sfu.ca/bookstore/coursematerials
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: YOUR WORK, YOUR SUCCESS
SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.
Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html
TEACHING AT SFU IN SPRING 2021
Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (email@example.com or 778-782-3112).