Decision-Making Under Uncertainty

By Prof. N. Gautam   |   Syracuse University
Learners enrolled: 4893
We are often faced with situations where we need to make decisions that have implications for personal and institutional goals. When there is uncertainty involved, we could either go with our gut feeling or take an analytical approach by characterizing the uncertainty, defining an objective, and evaluating the risk/payoffs of choices. This course is about the latter and is presented through the usage of example problem instances.

Any Interested Learners
PREREQUISITES :       Undergraduate course in probability (including topics on random variables and expected value); calculus and algebra    
INDUSTRY SUPPORT :    Most industries would find this useful (examples in course are in retail, supply chain and hospitality)
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 4 weeks
Category :
  • Commerce
  • Operations
Credit Points : 1
Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate
Start Date : 22 Aug 2022
End Date : 16 Sep 2022
Enrollment Ends : 22 Aug 2022
Exam Date : 30 Oct 2022 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1: Background and introduction: risk, uncertainty and variability; probability, random variables and expectation; optimization criteria; types of decisions

Week 2: One-time decisions: secretary problem; utility function; decision trees; TV game shows; Monte Hall problem; project evaluation

Week 3: Repeated decisions: newsvendor problem; buffering to manage uncertainty; safety stock for inventory; route planning; exploration vs. exploitation

Week 4: Sequential adaptive decision-making: strategic and operational; stochastic programming; Simpson’s Paradox; Markov decision process

Books and references

Hillier & Lieberman, “Introduction to Operations Research”;
Wayne Winston, “Introduction to Probability Models: Operations Research Volume II”;
Denardo, “Science of Decision Making”

Instructor bio

Prof. N. Gautam

Syracuse University
N. Gautam is a Professor at Syracuse University in the department of electrical engineering and computer science. He received his B. Tech. in Mechanical Engineering at IIT Madras followed by an M.S. and Ph.D. in Operations Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since 1997 he has taught courses in applied probability, stochastic systems, queuing models, decision-making, operations research, and statistics while being on the faculty at Pennsylvania State University and Texas A&M University. Gautam spent a semester at Singapore University of Technology and Design where he developed and taught a stochastic modeling course. He has given seminars in institutions around the world and is involved in research on topics related to this course. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 30 October 2022 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 3 assignments out of the total 4 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras .It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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