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The Clarity, Truth, and Freedom Symposium to Celebrate Professor Ron Howard's Impact

September 8, 2018

Professor Ron Howard's Speech at his retirement Dinner Gala - A Lesson on Conditional Probability

See the Symposium Program


Markov Processes

  • Markov processes was the main focus of Professor Howard’s early years at MIT, with books published in 1960 and 1971 that remain pivotal contributions.

Ethical Decisions

  • Ethics for personal decisions and for those providing analysis as decision support became the subject of a Stanford course, beginning about 1970 and a book, coauthored with Clint Korver, published in 2008.

Free Society

  • Freedom/coercion-free social systems involve the generalization of ethics from individual decisions to social systems. This extension has been a subject for a Stanford course over the past several decades and a forthcoming book, due out in 2019.

Decision Analysis

  • Professor Howard is best known as a founder of decision analysis. His 2016 textbook, Foundations of Decision Analysis, coauthored with Ali Abbas, makes his careful exposition of concepts and terminology more readily available to those who have not had the opportunity to work with him in his five decades of teaching and consulting. His normative synthesis of decision theory with systems engineering has spread during the past fifty years among theorists and practitioners around the world.


First Session 

  • 00:00 – 04:23 -- Introduction to the Program -- Dale Nesbitt

  • 04:39 – 19:30 -- Introducing Ron and How It All Started -- Jim Matheson

  • 19:40 – 40:12 -- On the Shoulders of Giants -– Ronald A. Howard

  • 40:13 – 52:03 -- Markov Processes -- Dick Smallwood & Jim Matheson

  • 52:12 – 1:03:36 -- Practical Ethics -- Clint Korver

  • Coercion-Free Social Systems

    • 1:03:46 – 1:12:32 -- History and Origin of the Coercion-free Systems at Stanford -- Gerry Sauer & Dale Nesbitt

    • 1:12:34 – 1:21:24 -- Current Perspectives and Future Directions -- Alejandro Martinez & Bob Stibolt

Second Session

  • 00:00 – 05:39 -- The Spread and Impact of DA -- Carl Spetzler

  • 05:40 – 11:02 -- Strategic DA Today -- Xi Chen

  • 11:05 – 21:17 -- DA in China -- Yong Tao

  • 21:18 – 30:34 -- DA in the Middle East -- Ibrahim Almojel & Mazen Skaf

  • 30:35 – 40:42 -- Portfolio Decisions & a New Versatile Probability Distribution -- Tom Keelin

  • 40:48 – 47:18 -- Embedding DA with Portfolio Processes – David Matheson

  • 47:23 – 56:25 -- Embedding DA in AI -- Eric Horvitz

  • 56:36 – 1:02:00 -- Embedding DA in AI -- Brad Powley

  • 1:02:10 – 1:08:12 -- Spreading DA via Executive Education -- Trina Weller & Bruce Judd

  • 1:08:20 – 1:19:00 -- Societal Decision Making -- Warner North

  • 1:19:12 – 1:27:05 -- Societal Decision Making -- Ali Abbas

  • 1:27:10 – 1:35:23 -- Medical: Patient Decision Support -- Jeff Belkora

  • 1:35:31 – 1:45:40 -- DA for Youth -- Personal and Life Choices -- David Heckerman and Chris Spetzler


50th Anniversary Celebration of Decision Analysis, November 8, 2014

Talks from the 2014 Society of Decision Professionals and Decision Analysis Society Event

Photos from 50th Gala by John Curley

Right-click any photo to download. 


History of Decision Analysis - Afternoon Session 1
An exploration of the origins and dissemination of Decision Analysis and Decision Quality as an academic field of study and professional practice, led by some of the founding scholars.  

Speakers: Eric Bickel, Ralph Keeney, Carl Spetzler, Howard Raiffa, Ron Howard, Detlof von Winterfelt, Warner North, Bob Winkler, Jim Matheson, Larry Phillips, David Bell, Tom Keelin, and Sam Bodily

Future of Decision Analysis - Afternoon Session 2
Decision Professionals from a myriad of university departments and professional applications examine the current extensions of Decision Analysis, as well as the exciting directions it promises to enter in the future.

Speakers: Carl Spetzler, Ralph Keeney, Ron Howard, Howard Raiffa, Jim Smith  Robert Bordley, Melissa Kenny, Scott Cantor, Vicki Bier, Ali Abbas, Jeff Keisler, Trina Weller, Jason Merrick, Sandy Wrobel, Bill Klimack, and Elisabeth Pate- Cornell

Highlights of the Evening Gala
Following the presentations, Decision Professionals dine, share stories, and toast Chevron, winner of the first annual Raiffa-Howard Award for Organizational Decision Quality.

Presentation of the Organizational Decision Quality Award (aka Raiffa-Howard Award) 

DAAG Conference, March 26-28, 2014 

Talks from the Decision Analysis Affinity Group Event

Professor Ron Howard's Keynote Address

Chris Spetzler Presenting for Tedx

Tedx Talk


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