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Decision-Making under Uncertainty: Be Aware of your Priorities

Samin, Huma; Bencomo, Nelly; Sawyer, Pete

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Huma Samin

Pete Sawyer


Self-adaptive systems (SASs) are increasingly leveraging autonomy in their decision-making to manage uncertainty in their operating environments. A key problem with SASs is ensuring their requirements remain satisfied as they adapt. The trade-off analysis of the non-functional requirements (NFRs) is key to establish balance among them. Further, when performing the trade-offs it is necessary to know the importance of each NFR to be able to resolve conflicts among them. Such trade-off analyses are often built upon optimisation methods, including decision analysis and utility theory. A problem with these techniques is that they use a single-scalar utility value to represent the overall combined priority for all the NFRs. However, this combined scalar priority value may hide information about the impacts of the environmental contexts on the individual NFRs’ priorities, which may change over time. Hence, there is a need for support for runtime, autonomous reasoning about the separate priority values for each NFR, while using the knowledge acquired based on evidence collected. In this paper, we propose Pri-AwaRE, a self-adaptive architecture that makes use of Multi-Reward Partially Observable Markov Decision Process (MR-POMDP) to perform decision-making for SASs while offering awareness of NFRs’ priorities. MR-POMDP is used as a priority-aware runtime specification model to support runtime reasoning and autonomous tuning of the distinct priority values of NFRs using a vector-valued reward function. We also evaluate the usefulness of our Pri-AwaRE approach by applying it to two substantial example applications from the networking and IoT domains.


Samin, H., Bencomo, N., & Sawyer, P. (2022). Decision-Making under Uncertainty: Be Aware of your Priorities. Software and Systems Modeling, 21(6), 2213-2242.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 22, 2021
Online Publication Date Jan 25, 2022
Publication Date 2022-12
Deposit Date Jan 20, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 18, 2023
Journal Software and Systems Modeling
Print ISSN 1619-1366
Electronic ISSN 1619-1374
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 6
Pages 2213-2242


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