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Special Issue "Advances in Multiple Criteria Decision Making for Sustainability: Modeling and Applications"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng

1. Institute of Management of Technology, National Chiao Tung University, 1001, Ta-Hsueh Road, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan
2. Graduate Institute of Urban Planning, National Taipei University, New Taipei City 23741, Taiwan
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 886-2- 8674-1111 ext. 67362
Fax: 886-916- 762717
Interests: research methods for problems-solving; data analysis (crisp sets, fuzzy set theory, rough set theory, statistics and multivariate analysis, evolutionary computation, soft computing, etc.,); multiple criteria decision making (MADM and MODM); and so on for applications in the real-world problems
Guest Editor
Dr. Kao-Yi Shen

Department of Banking and Finance, Chinese Culture University (SCE), 55, Hwa-Kang Road, Yang-Ming-Shan, Taipei 11114, Taiwan
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 886-2-2700-5858 ext. 8676
Interests: multiple criteria decision making (MCDM); fuzzy set theory; rough set theory; machine learning; business analytics; fundamental analysis; equity evaluation; technical analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Real-world decision problems often require the consideration and analysis of a group of factors/attributes/criteria that affect the final evaluation. As criteria are often in conflict, decision makers (DMs) need a scientific approach to conduct those analyses. The growing complexity in modern social-economics or engineering environments (or system) has impeded DMs or researchers who try to solve a complicated problem by using single-criterion models. Therefore, the use of a multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) approach to solving real-world problems has gained considerable attention in both academia and practice.

In recent years, MCDM research has been widely adopted in various fields, to exploit the preference or knowledge of DMs, for decision aids. However, traditional MCDM research mainly focuses on reaching the highest economic value or efficiency; issues related to sustainability are still underexplored. Thus, this Special Issue aims to collect high-quality papers which apply MCDM methods in all fields that address valuable topics related to sustainability. Also, owing to the uncertainty or vagueness in certain decision environments, the combination or integration of soft computing and artificial intelligence techniques with MCDM methods in modeling, are welcomed. Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the modeling or applications of MCDM (or hybrid MCDM) approaches in:

  • Business
  • Management
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Transportation
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Energy
  • Ecology
  • Information Technology
  • Medical Science

Prof. Gwo-Hshiung Tzeng
Dr. Kao-Yi Shen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • Sustainable development
  • Multiple criteria decision making (MCDM)
  • Problem-solving
  • Optimization
  • Decision aid
  • Soft computing
  • Computational intelligence
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Fuzzy sets
  • Rough set theory

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Multi Criteria Credit Rating Model for Small Enterprise Using a Nonparametric Method
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1834; doi:10.3390/su9101834
Received: 21 September 2017 / Revised: 5 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
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Abstract
A small enterprise’s credit rating is employed to measure its probability of defaulting on a debt, but, for small enterprises, financial data are insufficient or even unreliable. Thus, building a multi criteria credit rating model based on the qualitative and quantitative criteria is
[...] Read more.
A small enterprise’s credit rating is employed to measure its probability of defaulting on a debt, but, for small enterprises, financial data are insufficient or even unreliable. Thus, building a multi criteria credit rating model based on the qualitative and quantitative criteria is of importance to finance small enterprises’ activities. Till now, there has not been a multicriteria credit risk model based on the rank sum test and entropy weighting method. In this paper, we try to fill this gap by offering three innovative contributions. First, the rank sum test shows significant differences in the average ranks associated with index data for the default and entire sample, ensuring that an index makes an effective differentiation between the default and non-default sample. Second, the rating equation’s capacity is tested to identify the potential defaults by verifying a clear difference between the average ranks of samples with default ratings (i.e., not index values) and the entire sample. Third, in our nonparametric test, the rank sum test is used with rank correlation analysis made to screen for indices, thereby avoiding the assumption of normality associated with more common credit rating methods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Hybrid MCDM Model for Improving the Electronic Health Record to Better Serve Client Needs
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1819; doi:10.3390/su9101819
Received: 25 August 2017 / Revised: 17 September 2017 / Accepted: 5 October 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
PDF Full-text (814 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although the electronic health record (EHR) is a promising innovation in the healthcare industry, the implementation of EHR has been relatively slow. A theoretical structure for the exploration and improvement of this usage of EHR is proposed. Incorporating the theoretical structure of TOE
[...] Read more.
Although the electronic health record (EHR) is a promising innovation in the healthcare industry, the implementation of EHR has been relatively slow. A theoretical structure for the exploration and improvement of this usage of EHR is proposed. Incorporating the theoretical structure of TOE (technology-organization-environment), we apply the DEMATEL (decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory) technique to illustrate the influence-matrix and to construct the INRM (influential network relationship map). Based on this DEMATEL influence matrix and the fundamental concepts of ANP (Analytic Hierarchy Process), we derive influential weights for the criteria. These influential weights are then combined with the modified VIKOR (VlseKriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje) method to find ways to understand and enhance the usage of EHR technology. The outcome demonstrates that our model can not only be used for implementation of EHR technology, but can also be applied to analyze the gaps in performance between the aspiration level and present performance values in individual criterion/dimension. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Scheduling of Cloth Production Processes by Multi-Objective Genetic Algorithm with Tabu-Enhanced Local Search
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1754; doi:10.3390/su9101754
Received: 10 September 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
PDF Full-text (1154 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The dyeing of textile materials is the most critical process in cloth production because of the strict technological requirements. In addition to the technical aspect, there have been increasing concerns over how to minimize the negative environmental impact of the dyeing industry. The
[...] Read more.
The dyeing of textile materials is the most critical process in cloth production because of the strict technological requirements. In addition to the technical aspect, there have been increasing concerns over how to minimize the negative environmental impact of the dyeing industry. The emissions of pollutants are mainly caused by frequent cleaning operations which are necessary for initializing the dyeing equipment, as well as idled production capacity which leads to discharge of unconsumed chemicals. Motivated by these facts, we propose a methodology to reduce the pollutant emissions by means of systematic production scheduling. Firstly, we build a three-objective scheduling model that incorporates both the traditional tardiness objective and the environmentally-related objectives. A mixed-integer programming formulation is also provided to accurately define the problem. Then, we present a novel solution method for the sustainable scheduling problem, namely, a multi-objective genetic algorithm with tabu-enhanced iterated greedy local search strategy (MOGA-TIG). Finally, we conduct extensive computational experiments to investigate the actual performance of the MOGA-TIG. Based on a fair comparison with two state-of-the-art multi-objective optimizers, it is concluded that the MOGA-TIG is able to achieve satisfactory solution quality within tight computational time budget for the studied scheduling problem. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Manufacturing Process Innovation-Oriented Knowledge Evaluation Using MCDM and Fuzzy Linguistic Computing in an Open Innovation Environment
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1630; doi:10.3390/su9091630
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 5 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
PDF Full-text (6746 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In today’s complex, constantly evolving and innovation-supporting manufacturing systems, knowledge plays a vital role in sustainable manufacturing process planning and problem-solving, especially in the case of Computer-Aided Process Innovation (CAPI). To obtain formalized and promising process innovation knowledge under the open innovation paradigm,
[...] Read more.
In today’s complex, constantly evolving and innovation-supporting manufacturing systems, knowledge plays a vital role in sustainable manufacturing process planning and problem-solving, especially in the case of Computer-Aided Process Innovation (CAPI). To obtain formalized and promising process innovation knowledge under the open innovation paradigm, it is necessary to evaluate candidate knowledge and encourage improvement suggestions based on actual innovation situations. This paper proposes a process innovation-oriented knowledge evaluation approach using Multi-Criteria Decision-Making (MCDM) and fuzzy linguistic computing. Firstly, a comprehensive hierarchy evaluation index system for process innovation knowledge is designed. Secondly, by combining an analytic hierarchy process with fuzzy linguistic computing, a comprehensive criteria weighting determination method is applied to effectively aggregate the evaluation of criteria weights for each criterion and corresponding sub-criteria. Furthermore, fuzzy linguistic evaluations of performance ratings for each criterion and corresponding sub-criteria are calculated. Thus, a process innovation knowledge comprehensive value can be determined. Finally, an illustrative example of knowledge capture, evaluation and knowledge-inspired process problem solving for micro-turbine machining is presented to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed approach. It is expected that our model would lay the foundation for knowledge-driven CAPI in sustainable manufacturing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Consistent Fuzzy Preference Relations Based ANP Model for R&D Project Selection
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1352; doi:10.3390/su9081352
Received: 11 June 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
PDF Full-text (917 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In today’s rapidly changing economy, technology companies have to make decisions on research and development (R&D) projects investment on a routine bases with such decisions having a direct impact on that company’s profitability, sustainability and future growth. Companies seeking profitable opportunities for investment
[...] Read more.
In today’s rapidly changing economy, technology companies have to make decisions on research and development (R&D) projects investment on a routine bases with such decisions having a direct impact on that company’s profitability, sustainability and future growth. Companies seeking profitable opportunities for investment and project selection must consider many factors such as resource limitations and differences in assessment, with consideration of both qualitative and quantitative criteria. Often, differences in perception by the various stakeholders hinder the attainment of a consensus of opinion and coordination efforts. Thus, in this study, a hybrid model is developed for the consideration of the complex criteria taking into account the different opinions of the various stakeholders who often come from different departments within the company and have different opinions about which direction to take. The decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) approach is used to convert the cause and effect relations representing the criteria into a visual network structure. A consistent fuzzy preference relations based analytic network process (CFPR-ANP) method is developed to calculate the preference-weights of the criteria based on the derived network structure. The CFPR-ANP is an improvement over the original analytic network process (ANP) method in that it reduces the problem of inconsistency as well as the number of pairwise comparisons. The combined complex proportional assessment (COPRAS-G) method is applied with fuzzy grey relations to resolve conflicts arising from differences in information and opinions provided by the different stakeholders about the selection of the most suitable R&D projects. This novel combination approach is then used to assist an international brand-name company to prioritize projects and make project decisions that will maximize returns and ensure sustainability for the company. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Hybrid MCDM Approach for Strategic Project Portfolio Selection of Agro By-Products
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1302; doi:10.3390/su9081302
Received: 27 June 2017 / Revised: 18 July 2017 / Accepted: 19 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
PDF Full-text (2228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Due to the increasing size of the population, society faces several challenges for sustainable and adequate agricultural production, quality, distribution, and food safety in the strategic project portfolio selection (SPPS). The initial adaptation of strategic portfolio management of genetically modified (GM) Agro by-products
[...] Read more.
Due to the increasing size of the population, society faces several challenges for sustainable and adequate agricultural production, quality, distribution, and food safety in the strategic project portfolio selection (SPPS). The initial adaptation of strategic portfolio management of genetically modified (GM) Agro by-products (Ab-Ps) is a huge challenge in terms of processing the agro food product supply-chain practices in an environmentally nonthreatening way. As a solution to the challenges, the socio-economic characteristics for SPPS of GM food purchasing scenarios are studied. Evaluation and selection of the GM agro portfolio management are the dynamic issues due to physical and immaterial criteria involving a hybrid multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) approach, combining modified grey Decision-Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL), Multi-Attributive Border Approximation area Comparison (MABAC) and sensitivity analysis. Evaluation criteria are grouped into social, differential and beneficial clusters, and the modified DEMATEL procedure is used to derive the criteria weights. The MABAC method is applied to rank the strategic project portfolios according to the aggregated preferences of decision makers (DMs). The usefulness of the proposed research framework is validated with a case study. The GM by-products are found to be the best portfolio. Moreover, this framework can unify the policies of agro technological improvement, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and agro export promotion. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Hybrid and Cooperative Strategies Using Harmony Search and Artificial Immune Systems for Solving the Nurse Rostering Problem
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1090; doi:10.3390/su9071090
Received: 17 April 2017 / Revised: 15 June 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 22 June 2017
PDF Full-text (2774 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The nurse rostering problem is an important search problem that features many constraints. In a nurse rostering problem, these constraints are defined by processes such as maintaining work regulations, assigning nurse shifts, and considering nurse preferences. A number of approaches to address these
[...] Read more.
The nurse rostering problem is an important search problem that features many constraints. In a nurse rostering problem, these constraints are defined by processes such as maintaining work regulations, assigning nurse shifts, and considering nurse preferences. A number of approaches to address these constraints, such as penalty function methods, have been investigated in the literature. We propose two types of hybrid metaheuristic approaches for solving the nurse rostering problem, which are based on combining harmony search techniques and artificial immune systems to balance local and global searches and prevent slow convergence speeds and prematurity. The proposed algorithms are evaluated against a benchmarking dataset of nurse rostering problems; the results show that they identify better or best known solutions compared to those identified in other studies for most instances. The results also show that the combination of harmony search and artificial immune systems is better suited than using single metaheuristic or other hybridization methods for finding upper-bound solutions for nurse rostering problems and discrete optimization problems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Assessment of Real Estate Initiatives to Be Included in the Socially-Responsible Funds
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 973; doi:10.3390/su9060973
Received: 30 March 2017 / Revised: 29 May 2017 / Accepted: 30 May 2017 / Published: 7 June 2017
PDF Full-text (257 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The acknowledgment of the ongoing economic and financial crisis involving real estate, creates the need to formulate proposals and scenarios (in real estate) with the characteristics of socially responsible investments. These kind of investments aim towards “sustainable” development both environmentally (safeguarding the shortage
[...] Read more.
The acknowledgment of the ongoing economic and financial crisis involving real estate, creates the need to formulate proposals and scenarios (in real estate) with the characteristics of socially responsible investments. These kind of investments aim towards “sustainable” development both environmentally (safeguarding the shortage of resources such as land, energy, and natural elements), and socially (protecting the population and raising its level of well-being) according to so-called “ethical finance”, instead of a mere “speculative” investment. Effectively, real estate is still an investment sector only marginally explored by the socially-responsible funds. Based on these premises, this paper will: (i) briefly analyze the nature of socially-responsible investments, setting their characteristics apart from “traditional investments”; and (ii) propose a possible procedure (of the multi-criteria type) which aims to assess socially-responsible investments in real estate. This will be applied to a case study regarding a social housing initiative in the municipality of Anguillara Sabazia (Rome, Italy). Full article
Open AccessArticle Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) Based Economic Analysis of Solar PV System with Respect to Performance Investigation for Indian Market
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 820; doi:10.3390/su9050820
Received: 26 February 2017 / Revised: 30 April 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 17 May 2017
PDF Full-text (2523 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Energy market is subject to changing energy demands on a daily basis. The increasing demand for energy necessitates the use of renewable sources and promotes decentralized generation. Specifically, solar PV is preferred in the energy market to meet the increasing energy demand. New
[...] Read more.
Energy market is subject to changing energy demands on a daily basis. The increasing demand for energy necessitates the use of renewable sources and promotes decentralized generation. Specifically, solar PV is preferred in the energy market to meet the increasing energy demand. New approaches are preferred in the economic analysis to simulate multiple actor interplays and intermittent behavior in order to predict the increasing complexity in solar PV. In the Indian society, there are various myths and perceptions regarding economics of electricity generated through solar PV system. Therefore, this paper will address the various Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) and economic analysis for all types of consumers in the Indian electricity market. A detailed economic and performance study is made by considering ten categories and seven sub categories of investment plan for 1 MW solar projects using Multi Criteria Decision Making (MCDM). Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is applied to support the decision. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Eco-Efficiency Evaluation Considering Environmental Stringency
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 661; doi:10.3390/su9040661
Received: 22 February 2017 / Revised: 3 April 2017 / Accepted: 13 April 2017 / Published: 21 April 2017
PDF Full-text (978 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper proposes an extended data envelopment analysis (DEA) model for deriving eco-efficiency. In order to derive eco-efficiency, the proposed model utilizes the concepts of operational efficiency and environmental efficiency. Since DEA can separately measure operational efficiency and environmental efficiency, the treatment for
[...] Read more.
This paper proposes an extended data envelopment analysis (DEA) model for deriving eco-efficiency. In order to derive eco-efficiency, the proposed model utilizes the concepts of operational efficiency and environmental efficiency. Since DEA can separately measure operational efficiency and environmental efficiency, the treatment for constructing the unified indicator is required to ultimately evaluate eco-efficiency through balancing operational and environmental concerns. To achieve this goal, we define the environmental stringency as the business condition reflecting the degree of enforcing environmental regulations across the firms or particular industries in different countries. The proposed model provides flexibility, as required by the pollution-intensity of industry, in that it allows the decision maker to evaluate DMU’s (decision-making unit) eco-efficiency appropriately depending on the business environment. We present a case of agricultural production systems to help readers understand what eco-efficiency becomes when we vary the stringency conditions. Through the illustrative example, this paper presents the potential application by which different environmental stringencies can successively be incorporated in DEA. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Risk Assessment for Distribution Systems Using an Improved PEM-Based Method Considering Wind and Photovoltaic Power Distribution
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 491; doi:10.3390/su9040491
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 24 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1134 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The intermittency and variability of permeated distributed generators (DGs) could cause many critical security and economy risks to distribution systems. This paper applied a certain mathematical distribution to imitate the output variability and uncertainty of DGs. Then, four risk indices—EENS (expected energy not
[...] Read more.
The intermittency and variability of permeated distributed generators (DGs) could cause many critical security and economy risks to distribution systems. This paper applied a certain mathematical distribution to imitate the output variability and uncertainty of DGs. Then, four risk indices—EENS (expected energy not supplied), PLC (probability of load curtailment), EFLC (expected frequency of load curtailment), and SI (severity index)—were established to reflect the system risk level of the distribution system. For the certain mathematical distribution of the DGs’ output power, an improved PEM (point estimate method)-based method was proposed to calculate these four system risk indices. In this improved PEM-based method, an enumeration method was used to list the states of distribution systems, and an improved PEM was developed to deal with the uncertainties of DGs, and the value of load curtailment in distribution systems was calculated by an optimal power flow algorithm. Finally, the effectiveness and advantages of this proposed PEM-based method for distribution system assessment were verified by testing a modified IEEE 30-bus system. Simulation results have shown that this proposed PEM-based method has a high computational accuracy and highly reduced computational costs compared with other risk assessment methods and is very effective for risk assessments. Full article
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