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Sample Projects

From The Open Source Analysis of Competing Hypotheses Project

Revision as of 23:02, 17 August 2010 by Matt (Talk | contribs)

People unfamiliar with ACH tend to "get it" the moment they see their first ACH matrix. This page will be a place to store sample projects for demonstration purposes. These are screenshots, not active projects that you can participate in.

Wen Ho Lee

Below is an ACH project concerning Wen Ho Lee, a former Department of Energy employee once suspected, then cleared, of passing nuclear secrets to China. Lee eventually pleaded guilty to improperly handling sensitive information.

Here is an empty ACH matrix ready to be completed by an analyst. The body of evidence is down the y-axis; the proposed hypotheses are across the x-axis.

WHL-blank personal.png

Each evidence-hypothesis intersection creates a cell. For each cell, the analyst assesses the consistency of the evidence with respect to the hypothesis; that is, the analyst asks themselves, "If this hypothesis were true, would I be likely to see this evidence?" After doing this for every cell, they have this:

WHL-complete personal.png

Teams of researchers will naturally disagree on what consistency scores to put into each cell. The ACH Web application allows multiple people to fill out their own "personal matrix." The software then collates all the personal matrices and highlights the cells with the most amount of contention:


This has big benefits for group deliberation. Instead of arguing about a case in very broad terms, the group matrix allows a team to focus their discussion on the precise areas of disagreement. So instead of arguing about the Wen Ho Lee case in general, a team with the above group matrix would know to focus on two particularly controversial pieces of evidence, leading to a more productive discussion that will ideally help them resolve their differences more quickly and more peacefully.

Project data provided by Pherson Associates.