Recently, an increasing number of researchers have been focusing on working out realistic solutions to sustainability problems. As sustainability issues gain higher importance for organisations, the management of such decisions becomes critical. Knowledge representation is a fundamental issue of complex knowledge based systems. Many types of sustainability problems would benefit from models based on experts’ knowledge. Cognitive maps have been used for analyzing and aiding decision making. A cognitive map can be made of almost any system or problem. A fuzzy cognitive map (FCM) can successfully represent knowledge and human experience, introducing concepts to represent the essential elements and the cause and effect relationships among the concepts to model the behaviour of any system. Integrated waste management systems (IWMS) are complex systems that can be decomposed to non-related and related subsystems and elements, where many factors have to be taken into consideration that may be complementary, contradictory, and competitive; these factors influence each other and determine the overall decision process of the system. The goal of the present paper is to construct an efficient IWMS which considers various factors. The authors’ intention is to propose an expert based system design approach for implementing expert decision support in the area of IWMSs and introduces an appropriate methodology for the development and analysis of group FCM. A framework for such a methodology consisting of the development and application phases is presented.
The development, operation and maintenance of Integrated Waste Management Systems (IWMS) affects essentially the sustainable concern of every region. The features of such systems have great influence on all of the components of sustainability. In order to reach the optimal way of processes, a comprehensive mapping of the variables affecting the future efficiency of the system is needed such as analysis of the interconnections among the components and modeling of their interactions. The planning of a IWMS is based fundamentally on technical and economical opportunities and the legal framework. Modeling the sustainability and operation effectiveness of a certain IWMS is not in the scope of the present research. The complexity of the systems and the large number of the variables require the utilization of a complex approach to model the outcomes and future risks. This complex method should be able to evaluate the logical framework of the factors composing the system and the interconnections between them. The authors of this paper studied the usability of the Fuzzy Cognitive Map (FCM) approach modeling the future operation of IWMS’s. The approach requires two input data set. One is the connection matrix containing all the factors affecting the system in focus with all the interconnections. The other input data set is the time series, a retrospective reconstruction of the weights and roles of the factors. This paper introduces a novel method to develop time series by content analysis.