All decision models use some form of language to describe domain elements and their interactions. The terminology is often specific and even unique to the algorithm and is a choice of designers. Nevertheless the domain elements and concepts of any decision problem are almost never unique and are used and reused in many other decision problems. The same is true about the information about those elements in the context of different decision problems. Put together, the information about any given element forms our knowledge about the element and if stored properly in a knowledgebase, can be used and reused as necessary without the need for duplication.
In this paper we discuss creation of an ontology using UMLS vocabulary and semantic network that provides an abstract understanding of elements (or objects) in the problem domain. Based on this ontology, a knowledgebase will be constructed that provides further information about the object in relation to another object or objects as described in the semantic links.
A knowledgebase structured as such will have the benefit of problem-independence. It can be expanded as needed to include other objects that are used in a different series of problems and therefore, will have a one to many mapping between knowledgebase and decision models. Updating the knowledgebase will update the decision models seamlessly and maintenance will be less of an issue across decision models and within the knowledgebase. We are using this approach in building Bayesian decision models using Bayesian networks; however, this approach is not limited to Bayesian networks and has been and can be used for other decision making purposes.
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