Decision Science & Policy-Master of Information Technology Strategy - Carnegie Mellon University

Decision Science & Policy

19-701 Intro to the Theory & Practice of Policy

This course reviews and critically examines a set of basic problems, assumptions, and analytical techniques that are common to research and policy analysis in technology and public policy. Topics covered include basic ideas of risk analysis, policy problems formulated in terms of utility maximization, issues of uncertainty in policy analysis, limitations and alternatives to the paradigm of utility maximization, issues related to organizations and multiple agents, and selected topics in policy advice and policy analysis for the federal government. The objective is to look critically at the strengths, limitations, and underlying assumptions of policy research and analysis tools, identify important research issues, and sensitize students to some of the critical issues of taste, professional responsibility, ethics, and values that are associated with policy analysis and research.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing
Units:  12 
Schedule:  Fall semester

19-713 Policies of Wireless Systems & the Internet

This course will address public policy issues related to wireless systems, and to the Internet. It begins by investigating policies related to a wide variety of emerging wireless systems and technologies, including wifi computer networks, broadband to the home, broadcast radio and television, and satellite communications. This can include the government role in facilitating the creation of infrastructure, in advancing competition among broadcasters and communications service providers, in managing spectrum, and in protecting privacy and security. The course will then address Internet policy issues, which can include Internet governance and the domain name system, taxation, privacy and security, and intellectual property. Because these are inherently interdisciplinary issues, the course will include detailed discussions of technology, economics, and law, with no prerequisites in any of these areas.

Prerequisites: None
Units:  12 
Schedule:  Fall semester

19-722 Telecommunications, Technology Policy & Management

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to basic principles of telecommunications technology and the legal, economic, and regulatory environment of the telecommunications industry. Topics covered are: role of new technologies such as fiber, wireless, voice over packet, and broadband access; principles behind telecommunications regulation from common carrier law and natural monopoly to open access and interconnection; differences in the treatment of telecommunications versus information services. Also, mergers, antitrust, and the changing industrial structure of telecommunications; spectrum allocation and management; and international comparison of telecommunications regulations. Special emphasis on how the new technologies have altered and are altered by regulation.

Prerequisites: 73100
Units:  12 
Schedule:  Spring semester

88-605   Risk Perception and Communication

Throughout their lives, people make decisions about risks that may potentially affect their health, safety, finances, use of technology, and effects on the environment. This course will review the risk perception and communication literature, focusing on theoretical and methodological issues as well as practical implications for educators, public health officials, engineers, economists, and other experts who aim to teach people about risks. We will discuss how to design surveys to increase our understanding of the problems people face when making decisions about specific risks, and how to design communication materials that help people to improve their decisions. We will highlight examples and applications taken from multiple disciplines, including health psychology, adolescent decision making, environmental science, and engineering.

Prerequisites: Basic level of understanding of statistics. 
Units:  12 
Schedule:  Spring semester

88-619 Negotiation

Negotiation is a process in which two or more parties undertake a process to resolve conflicting interests. Decision makers use negotiation in a variety of circumstances to reach agreements among countries, among employers and employees, among firms, and among family and friends. There are two different sections of this course (students are not permitted to take both): Domestic section: The objective of this course is to understand the process of negotiations and how the structure of the negotiation environment affects the outcomes achieved. Students will learn to analyze the features of the negotiation environment, develop an understanding of effective negotiation strategies, and identify the barriers to reaching wise agreements. This course will focus on negotiations in a wide variety of context: public policy negotiations, business negotiations, and inter-personal negotiations. International section: The objective of this course is to understand the process of negotiations and how the structure of the negotiation environment affects the outcomes achieved. Students will learn to analyze the features of the negotiation environment, develop an understanding of effective negotiation strategies, and identify the barriers to reaching wise agreements. This course will focus on negotiations in primarily international contexts.

Prerequisites: None
Unit:  12 
Schedule: Fall semester

88-623   Decision Analysis and Decision Support Systems

This course emphasizes explicit procedures for analyzing complex decisions. The topics covered include: decision trees and other models of decisions involving uncertainty; methods for quantifying preferences and expert opinion; risk analysis; and the development and use of computerized decision aids ranging from spread sheet programs to highly specialized decision support models.

Prerequisites: Basic level statistics. 
Unit:  12 
Schedule: Spring semester

88-642 Decision Science in Intergroup Conflict

A conventional course on decision science tackles the biases and heuristics that affect individual decision-making. This course will highlight biases and heuristics in an intergroup rather than individual context, and in times of uncertainty or insecurity (e.g. conflict) rather than times of stability. Themes to be covered include: intergroup identities, perceptions, emotions, attributions, empathy, moral judgments, sacred values and parochial altruism. The course will draw on a variety of scientific methods (e.g. field & lab experiments, fMRI, and psychophysiology) and disciplinary approaches (e.g. decision science, anthropology, social/cognitive/cultural psychology, and political science). Emphasis will be placed on understanding the relevance of research findings for everyday life.

Prerequisites: None
Units:  12 
Schedule: Fall semester

88-647   Complex Technological Systems: Past, Present, and Future

The Internet is only the latest example of a complex technological system that fundamentally alters the way that we act in and think about our world—and about technology itself. During the last two centuries such complex technological systems have emerged, ranging from transportation systems such as the railroad and mass-produced automobiles running on paved roads and superhighways to networked information systems including the telegraph, the telephone, and radio and television. What are the common features of these complex technological systems? When do they emerge? How are national and international standards for these systems established? How far reaching are the consequences of these systems in society, business, and in other complex technological systems? Can they be predicted? Can they be controlled? Can such complex technological systems be fully comprehended and modeled? In a world in which many of these systems are interconnected, how vulnerable are current societies (such as those in the West) that depend on them, especially in an age of global terrorism? These are but some of the questions this lecture and discussion course will tackle using cases from the past, the present, and the future. Students are graded through weekly quizzes, midterm and final examinations, and class participation.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. 
Units:  12 
Schedule: Intermittent offering

88-691   Technology and Economic Growth

The importance of economic growth is difficult to overstate. The more than tenfold increase in income in the United States over the last century is the result of economic growth. So is the fact that incomes in the United States and Western Europe are at least thirty times greater than incomes in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. Economic research has clearly identified technological innovation as the engine of long-run economic growth. This course seeks to provide students with analytical frameworks that will enable them to understand the economic growth process, the role that technological innovation plays in that process, and the policies and institutions that can enhance and sustain technological innovation in industrialized societies.

Prerequisites: None 
Units:  12 
Schedule:  Fall semester

88-671   Entrepreneurship, Regulation and Technological Change

There is a growing interest in understanding the interrelationships between regulatory institutions and innovations. Certainly, opportunities for innovative activities take place in the context of the extant public policy institutions (e.g., entry restrictions in telecommunications, environmental performance standards, intellectual property protections). Consequently, entrepreneurial activity plays a key role in identifying and exploiting these opportunities. In this course, we examine the role that entrepreneurs play in the interrelationships between regulation and technological change. The objectives are to develop and articulate an understanding of the theory, nature, and role of entrepreneurship in the American economy; the theory, nature, and role of regulation in the American economy; and the theory, nature, and role of the dynamic interaction of entrepreneurship and regulation in the American economy. Students will evaluate historical cases in which new or changing regulation presents opportunity for entrepreneurial entry in business, as well as historical cases in which entrepreneur activity (in the form of innovation) presents new needs or opportunities for regulation, thereby presenting—or constraining—further opportunities for entry. The course is broken into a series of blocks, and each week there will be a set of readings posted on Blackboard. Blackboard will be used to facilitate communication, including announcements, readings, lectures, and assignments.

Prerequisites: Basic level economics/microeconomics or history of public policy course.Prerequisites: None
Units:  12 
Schedule: Intermittent offering