What is it? SIAM is a powerful software application designed to assist people in analyzing complex problems and issues, especially when empirical information is sparse or uncertain. SIAM can be used in a range of operational situations, from corporate decision making to national security planning.
At its core, SIAM helps users break down complicated issues into simpler parts, thereby allowing them to recognize and evaluate important relationships among sub-issues more easily. With its user-friendly graphical structure and automated evaluation functions, SIAM encourages a more detailed level of thinking than is sometimes possible by intuition alone. Once identified, these detailed issues and relationships can be assessed for their importance within the larger picture. SIAM, like its sister application, Causeway, employs a robust, java-based core of software capabilities that implement Leidos' Influence Net modeling approach.
SIAM encourages the user to consider and track the impact of all issues, events, perceptions, and other factors which are believed to be of some significance. By analyzing all relevant issues, the user can make the most informed decision possible. SIAMs automated assessment tools allow the user to evaluate the importance of uncontrolled variables, and adjust decisions to incorporate major developments and changes to the situation or information updates available to the user.
One of SIAMs most beneficial uses is in the area of analytical collaboration. Analysts, decision makers, corporate strategists, and operational planners with expertise in different disciplines can use SIAM to collaborate on issues which require an understanding of many fields. Users who share a specialty can employ SIAM to critique and challenge the logic of one another on any given issue. Changes can then be incorporated and assessed for their impact. And with SIAMs Hypothesis Analysis and cross-excursion analysis tools, decision makers are provided with the findings — consensus or divergent — that determine the next step in development of feasible, effective strategic planning.
For example, a group of analysts or policy makers considering developments in a particular country can use SIAM to analyze the potential impact of a political event. A team of corporate decision makers considering a marketing strategy can use SIAM to assess the expected impact of a new advertising campaign. In each of these situations, subject matter experts will come together and compare each step of their investigation to identify similarities and differences. Why did one user conclude that Event A was significant, while another thought that it was not important at all? Why did one user believe that Event B was more significant than Event C, when another held the opposite to be true? Differences of opinion such as these can be detected with SIAMs utilities and examined by the collaborating group. Discussing differences, sharing evidence, and taking advantage of SIAMs construction and assessment capabilities allow a richer analysis to emerge, and therefore to be presented to the decision maker.
Embedding INET Model Fragments Often when complex situations are considered, events from one discipline may be causes of events in other disciplines. Similarly, an event in one sector of influence may affect the outcome of an event in another, seemingly independent, realm. To avoid screen clutter and confusion during construction and analysis, SIAM allows the user to visualize a node in multiple Influence Nets. These distinct Influence Net fragments --called "pages" in SIAM -- would contain only the fundamental causal events and relationships pertinent to the sub-objective of the overall situation.
One mechanism that graphically connects two Influence Net fragments is to construct the same node on two different pages of the Net Book containing all the fragments in the Influence Net model. However, with this mechanism, the user is required to manually identify the belief value of the root node in the subnet fragment, and then manually assign this value as the (current) belief of the corresponding node in the primary fragment net. Any changes to the subnet would then alter the belief of the node in common to the two pages. The manual determine-and-assign method must be performed again. Such manipulations are not only time consuming, they also hide the causal relationship between the Influence Net fragments.
To facilitate construction of causally-dependent, but visually distinct Influence Net model fragments, SIAM allows users to drag-and-drop a node from one Page to another Page in the same Net Book (or "hook" the node to second book). The root node of the subnet fragment can be dragged from the Page containing the subnet onto the Page containing the primary fragment net. The node is said to embed the subnet fragment within the primary net.
SIAMs Excursion Tools Often subject matter experts will have competing opinions of an uncertain situation. SIAM allows users to assign parametric values to identify the different causal relationships. These different "views" of the situation are called excursions, and they can be explored with SIAMs cross-excursion analysis tools to identify variations among the views.
SIAM allows users to define excursions that reflect vastly differing opinions. However, for users interested in slight variations, say over time, SIAM allows excursions to be "derived" from each other. For example, when developing a 3-year financial plan, the events and influencing relationships known today can be slightly varied to arrive at the projected situation one year from now. And the Year 2 plan can be derived from next year's excursion, and so on....
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