Why People Stumble on Aug-2016 Challenge

On August 1 we published a new challenge unknownGreeting a Customer with Unknown Data” and until today we haven’t received even one solution. Why? Is it because of August’s vacations? We suspect that this “simple” challenge is much more difficult than it looks like. Many real-world decision models deal with similar problems: they have to produce a meaningful outcome even when expected input is not available.
Will DMN’s recommendation to use “null” for unknown values be sufficient and still business friendly in such situations? We challenge BR&DM vendors and practitioners to provide their solutions. 

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2 Responses to Why People Stumble on Aug-2016 Challenge

  1. Well, I considered this challenge, and thought that it was easy at first. But then the complexity hit me when I learned about time zones and summer and winter times. Whether or not this complexity was intended in the challenge, I do not know.

    These are points that make the challenge difficult:
    – Countries exist with no summer or winter time
    – Countries in the southern hemisphere have summer and winter time turned around
    – Each country starts summer and winter time on different days
    – The days on which summer and winter time start can be different each year, with only a announcement shortly before starting
    – Countries sometimes have a time difference of 30 or 45 minutes
    – There are countries that are all year long on summer time, effectively escaping their timezone

    All these points make me believe that calling a web service for this problem is the easiest solution, instead of modelling it myself, but what is the fun in that?

    If it would only be about handling unknown/null values, it would have been easy.

  2. Maarten, you took only one perspective of this problem (season’s time) and correctly pointed how quickly an easy looking decision model may become quite difficult. However, this challenge concentrates on dealing with unknown data, e.g. the use of a phone or a home state to determine a customer’s location. Please use only your own country for the season definition, and show other, “easy”, aspects of this decision model using your favorite tool.

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