# Decision Trees and Decision Tables - Furman University

Decision Trees and Decision Tables Decision Trees and Decision Tables Often our problem solutions require decisions to be made according to two or more conditions or combinations of conditions Decision trees represent such decision as a sequence of steps Decision tables describe all possible combinations of conditions and the decision appropriate to each combination Levels of uncertainty can also be built into decision trees to account for the relative probabilities of the various outcomes 2 Decision Tree Showing Possible Outcomes Projected Outcomes Sales Results A.1 Sales Up 10% A.2 Sales Up 15% B.1 Sales Up 5% B.2 Sales Even Outcome A Decision Made Outcome B 3

Decision Tree of Outcomes -- Quantifying Uncertainties Projected Sales Results A.1 Sales Up 10% 32% 20% A.2 Sales Up 15% 8% 70% B.1 Sales Up 5% 42% 30% B.2 Sales Even 80% Outcome A 40% Decision Made 60% Outcome B 18% 4 Example of Using a Decision Tree or Table to Capture Complex Business Logic Consider the following excerpt from an actual business document:

If the customer account is billed using a fixed rate method, a minimum monthly charge is assessed for consumption of less than 100 kwh. Otherwise, apply a schedule A rate structure. However, if the account is billed using a variable rate method, a schedule A rate structure will apply to consumption below 100 kwh, with additional consumption billed according to schedule B. 5 Articulating Complex Business Rules Complex business/logic rules, such as our example, can become rather confusing Capturing such rules in text form alone can lead to ambiguity and misinterpretation As an alternative, it is often wise to capture such rules in decision tress or decision tables The examples on the following slides will illustrate this technique Decision Tree for this Example fixed rate billing variable rate billing < 100 kwh minimum charge >= 100 kwh schedule A < 100 kwh schedule A

>= 100 kwh ? 7 Decision Tree for this Example fixed rate billing variable rate billing < 100 kwh minimum charge >= 100 kwh schedule A < 100 kwh schedule A >= 100 kwh schedule A on first 99 kwh schedule B on kwh 100 and above 8 Decision Table for Example Version 1 Conditions Fixed rate acct Variable rate acct Consumption < 100 kwh Consumption >= 100 kwh 1 Rules

2 3 4 T F T F T F F T F T T F F T F T 5 F F Is this a valid business case? Did we miss something? Actions Minimum charge Schedule A Schedule A on first 99 kwh, Schedule B on kwh 100 + X X X X

9 Decision Table for Example Version 2 Conditions Account type Consumption 1 fixed < 100 Rules 2 3 fixed variable >=100 <100 4 variable >= 100 Actions Minimum charge Schedule A Schedule A on first 99 kwh, Schedule B on kwh 100 + X X X X 10 Activity Consider the following description of a companys matching retirement contribution plan: Acme Widgets wants to encourage its employees to save for retirement. To promote this goal, Acme will match an employees contribution to the approved retirement plan by 50% provided the employee keeps the money in the retirement plan at least two years. However, the company limits its matching contributions depending on the employees salary and time of service as follows. Acme will match five, six, or seven percent of the first \$30,000 of an employee's salary if he or she has been with the

company for at least two, five, or ten years respectively. If the employee has been with the company for at least five years, the company will match up to four percent of the next \$25,000 in salary and three percent of any excess. Ten-year plus workers get a five percent match from \$30,000 to \$55,000. Long-term service employees (fifteen years or more) get seven percent on the first \$30,000 and five percent after that. 11 Team Activity (contd) 1) 2) 3) Do one of the following tasks : a) Create a decision tree that captures the business rules in this policy. b) Create a decision table that captures the business rules in this policy. Did your analysis uncover any questions, ambiguities, or missing rules? If so, do you think these would be as easy to spot and to analyze using only the narrative description of this policy? 12 Developing a More Complex Decision Table 13 Developing More Complex Decision Tables In the 1950's General Electric, the Sutherland Corporation, and the United States Air Force worked on a complex file maintenance project, using flowcharts and traditional narratives, they spent six labor-years of effort but failed to define the problem. It was not until 1958, when four analysts using decision tables, successfully defined the problem in less than four weeks 1. _____________________________________ 1 Taken from A History of Decision Tables located at http://www.catalyst.com/products/logicgem/overview.html

Steps to create a decision table 1. List all the conditions which determine which action to take. 2. Calculate the number of rules required. Multiple the number of values for each condition by each other. Example: Condition 1 has 2 values, Condition 2 has 2 values, Condition 3 has 2 values. Thus 2 X 2 X 2 = 8 rules 3. Fill all combinations in the table. 4. Define the action for each rule 5. Analyze column by column to determine which actions are appropriate for each rule. 6. Reduce the table by eliminating redundant columns. All possible combinations Conditions F T F T F T F T T F

F T T F F T T T F F F F T T T T T F F

F T F F F Actions F F X X X X X X X X

X X X X X X X Actions per combination (each column represents a different state of affairs) Example Policy for charging charter flight costumers for certain in-flight services:2 If the flight is more than half-full and costs more than \$350 per seat, we serve free cocktails unless it is a domestic flight. We charge for cocktails on all domestic flights; that is, for all the ones where we serve cocktails. (Cocktails are only served on flights that are more than half-full.) _____________________________ e taken form: Structured Analysis and System Specification, Tom de Marco, on inc., New York, List all the conditions that determine which action to take. Conditions Values The flight more than half-full? Yes (Y), No (N) Cost is more than \$350? Y, N

Is it a domestic flight? Y, N Calculate the space of combinations Conditions Number of Combinations Possible Combinations/ Rules 1 2 Y N 2 4 Y N Y Y Y N N N 3 8 Y N Y Y Y Y Y N Y N

N Y n 2n Y Y N N Y N Y N N N N N Calculate the Number of Rules in Table Conditions in the example are 3 and all are two-valued ones, hence we have: All combinations are 23 = 8 rules OR 2 X 2 X 2 = 8 rules Fill all rules in the table. ACTIONS CONDITONS POSSIBLE RULES more than half-full N

N N N Y Y Y Y more than \$350 per seat N N Y Y N N Y Y domestic flight N Y N Y N

Y N Y Analyze column by column to determine which actions are appropriate for each combination ACTIONS CONDITONS POSSIBLE RULES more than half-full N N N N Y Y Y Y more than \$350 per seat N N Y Y N

N Y Y domestic flight N Y N Y N Y N Y X X X X serve cocktails free X Reduce the table by eliminating redundant columns. ACTIONS CONDITONS

POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS more than halffull N N N N Y Y Y Y more than \$350 per seat N N Y Y N N Y Y domestic flight N Y

N Y N Y N Y X X X X serve cocktails free X Note that some columns are identical except for one condition. Reduce the table by eliminating redundant columns. ACTIONS CONDITONS POSSIBLE RULES more than halffull N N N

N Y Y Y Y more than \$350 per seat N N Y Y N N Y Y domestic flight N Y N Y N Y N

Y X X X X serve cocktails free X Note that some columns are identical except for one condition. Which means that actions are independent from the value of that particular condition. Reduce the table by eliminating redundant columns. ACTIONS CONDITONS POSSIBLE RULES more than halffull N N N N Y Y

Y Y more than \$350 per seat N N Y Y N N Y Y domestic flight N Y N Y N Y N Y X X

X X serve cocktails free X Note that some columns are identical except for one condition. Which means that actions are independent from the value of that particular condition. Hence, the table can be simplified. Reduce the table by eliminating redundant columns. ACTIONS CONDITONS POSSIBLE RULES more than halffull N N N Y Y Y Y

more than \$350 per seat N Y Y N N Y Y domestic flight - N Y N Y N Y X X X X serve cocktails free

X First we combine the yellow ones nullifying the condition. Reduce the table by eliminating redundant columns. POSSIBLE RULES ACTIONS CONDITONS more than halffull N N Y Y Y Y First we combine the yellow ones nullifying the condition. Then the red ones. more than \$350 per seat N Y N N Y

Y domestic flight - - N Y N Y X X X X serve cocktails free X Reduce the table by eliminating redundant columns. POSSIBLE RULES ACTIONS CONDITONS more than halffull N N Y

Y Y Y First we combine the yellow ones nullifying the condition. Then the red ones. more than \$350 per seat N Y N N Y Y domestic flight - - N Y N Y X X X

X serve cocktails free X Notice that yellow and red columns are identical but by one condition. Reduce the table by eliminating redundant columns. POSSIBLE RULES ACTIONS CONDITONS more than halffull N Y Y Y Y First we combine the yellow ones nullifying the condition. Then the red ones. more than \$350 per seat - N N Y

Y domestic flight - N Y N Y Notice that yellow and red columns are identical but by one condition. X X X X So, we combine them. serve cocktails free X Reduce the table by eliminating redundant columns. POSSIBLE RULES ACTIONS CONDITONS more than halffull N

Y Y Y First we combine the yellow ones nullifying the condition. Then the red ones. more than \$350 per seat - N Y Y domestic flight - - N Y Notice that yellow and red columns are identical but by one condition. X X X So, we combine them. serve cocktails

free X Then we combine the violet colored ones. Reduce the table by eliminating redundant columns. ACTIONS CONDITONS POSSIBLE RULES more than halffull N Y Y Y more than \$350 per seat - N Y Y domestic flight - - N Y

X X X serve cocktails free X Notice that even when we observe that the green columns are identical except for one condition we do not combine them: A NULLIFIED condition is not the same as a valued one. What about this rule? Have we over looked something? Final Solution ACTIONS CONDITONS Rules more than half-full N Y Y Y more than \$350 per seat - N

Y Y domestic flight - - N Y X X X serve cocktails free X Example: A marketing company wishes to construct a decision table to decide how to treat clients according to three characteristics: Gender, City Dweller, and age group: A (under 30), B (between 30 and 60), C (over 60). The company has four products (W, X, Y and Z) to test market. Product W will appeal to female city dwellers. Product X will appeal to young females. Product Y will appeal to Male middle aged shoppers who do not live in cities. Product Z will appeal to all but older females. The process used to create this decision table is the following: 1. Identify conditions and their alternative values. There are 3 conditions: gender, city dweller, and age group. Put these into table as 3 rows in upper left side.

Genders alternative values are: F and M. City dwellers alternative values are: Y and N Age groups alternative values are: A, B, and C 2. Compute max. number of rules. Determine the product of number of alternative values for each condition. 2 x 2 x 3 = 12. Fill table on upper right side with one column for each unique combination of these alternative values. Label each column using increasing numbers 1-12 corresponding to the 12 rules. For example, the first column (rule 1) corresponds to F, Y, and A. Rule 2 corresponds to M, Y, and A. Rule 3 corresponds to F, N, and A. Rule 4 corresponds to M, N, and A. Rule 5 corresponds to F, Y, and B. Rule 6 corresponds to M, Y, and B and so on. 3. Identify possible actions Market product W, X, Y, or Z. Put these into table as 4 rows in lower left side. 4. Define each of the actions to take given each rule. For example, for rule 1 where it is F, Y, and A; we see from the above example scenario that products W, X, and Z will appeal. Therefore, we put an X into the tables intersection of column 1 and the rows that correspond to the actions: market product W, market product X, and market product Z. Gender City Age Market W 1 F 2 M 3 F 4 M 5 F 6 M 7 F

8 M 9 F 10 M 11 F 12 M Y A X Y A N A N A Y B X Y B N B N B Y C X

Y C N C N C MarketX X X MarketY MarketZ X X X X X X X X X X X 5. Verify that the actions given to each rule are correct. 6. Simplify the table. Determine if there are rules (columns) that represent impossible situations. If so, remove those columns. There are no impossible situations in this example. Determine if there are rules (columns) that have the same actions. If so, determine if these are rules that are identical except for one condition and for that one condition, all possible values of this condition are present in the rules in these columns. In the example scenario, columns 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, and

12 have the same action. Of these columns: 2, 6, and 10 are identical except for one condition: age group. The gender is M and they are city dwellers. The age group is A for rule 2, B for rule 6, and C for rule 10. Therefore, all possible values of condition age group are present. For rules 2, 6, and 10; the age group is a dont care. These 3 columns can be collapsed into one column and a hyphen is put into the age group location to signify that we dont care what the value of the age group is, we will treat all male city dwellers the same: market product Z. Final Decision Table 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Gender F M F M F M F

M F M City Y Y N N Y N N Y N N Age A A A B B B C

C C MarketW X MarketX X X X X MarketY MarketZ X X X X X X X X X Complex Decision Table Exercise A company is trying to maintain a meaningful list of customers. The objective is to send out only the catalogs from which customers will buy merchandise. The company realizes that certain loyal customers order from every catalog and some people on the mailing list never order. These customers are easy to identify. Deciding which catalogs to send to customers who order from only selected catalogs is a more difficult decision. Once these decisions have been made by the marketing

department, you as the analyst have been asked to develop a decision table for the three conditions described below. Each condition has two alternatives (Y or N): 1. Customer ordered from Fall catalog 2. Customer ordered from Christmas catalog 3. Customer ordered from Specialty catalog The actions for these conditions, as determined by marketing, are described on the next slide. 38 Complex Decision Table Exercise Customers who ordered from all three catalogs will get the Christmas and Special catalogs. Customers who ordered from the Fall and Christmas catalogs but not the Special catalog will get the Christmas catalog. Customers who ordered from the Fall catalog and the Special catalog but not the Christmas catalog will get the Special catalog. Customers who ordered only from the Fall catalog but no other catalog will get the Christmas catalog. Customers who ordered from the Christmas and Special catalogs but not the Fall catalog will get both catalogs. Customers who ordered only from the Christmas catalog or only from the Special catalog will get only the Christmas or Special catalogs respectively. Customers who ordered from no catalog will get the Christmas catalog. 1. Create a simplified decision table based on the above decision logic. 39

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