US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in ENVIRONMENTAL MODELLING, SOFTWARE AND DECISION SUPPORT: STATE OF THE ART AND NEW PERSPECTIVES, edited by A. J. Jakeman, A. A. Voinov, A. E. Rizzoli, & S. H. Chen (Amsterdam et al.: Elsevier, 2008). This article is a U.S. government work and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


As argued in Chapter 1, modern management of environmental resources defines problems from a holistic and integrated perspective, thereby imposing strong requirements on Environmental Decision Support Systems (EDSSs) and Integrated Assessment Tools (IATs). These systems and tools tend to be increasingly complex in terms of software architecture and computational power in order to cope with the type of problems they must solve. For instance, the discipline of Integrated Assessment (IA) needs tools that arc able to span a wide range of disciplines, from socio-economics to ecology to hydrology. Such tools must support a wide range of methodologies and techniques like agent-based modeling, Bayesian decision networks, optimization, multicriteria analyses and visualization tools, to name a few.