An intelligent decomposition of pairwise comparison matrices for large-scale decisions

Eugene Rex Jalao, Teresa Wu, Dan Shunk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


A Pairwise Comparison Matrix (PCM) has been used to compute for relative priorities of elements and are integral components in widely applied decision making tools: the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and its generalized form, the Analytic Network Process (ANP). However, PCMs suffer from several issues limiting their applications to large-scale decision problems. These limitations can be attributed to the curse of dimensionality, that is, a large number of pairwise comparisons need to be elicited from a decision maker. This issue results to inconsistent preferences due to the limited cognitive powers of decision makers. To address these limitations, this research proposes a PCM decomposition methodology that reduces the elicited pairwise comparisons. A binary integer program is proposed to intelligently decompose a PCM into several smaller subsets using interdependence scores among elements. Since the subsets are disjoint, the most independent pivot element is identified to connect all subsets to derive the global weights of the elements from the original PCM. As a result, the number of pairwise comparison is reduced and consistency is of the comparisons is improved. The proposed decomposition methodology is applied to both AHP and ANP to demonstrate its advantages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-280
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • AHP
  • ANP
  • Binary integer programming
  • Inconsistency
  • Pairwise comparison matrices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


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