Preferences are a central concept of decision making and have extensively been studied in economics, operations research, and social sciences. In recent years, preferences have also become of increasing importance for human-centered computational systems. Computational methods for handling preferences are nowadays studied in fields such as artificial intelligence, data bases, and human-computer interaction in addition to the classic decision sciences. For example, preference models are needed in decision-support systems such as recommender systems, in automated problem solvers such as product configurators, or in autonomous systems such as Mars rovers. This extends the scope of classic decision support and adds new questions, methods, and applications to the handling of preferences. We understand preference handling as computational methods for the elicitation, representation, aggregation, and satisfaction of preferences for computational tasks.
Given the common interest in preferences, researchers from operations research, economics, artificial intelligence, data-base systems, and other fields first met on a Dagstuhl seminar in 2004 and continued meetings on multidisciplinary workshops on advances in preference handling each year since then. The meetings have been extremely successful and altogether attracted a very large number of researchers. This EURO Working Group attempts to give an official status to this community. Its purpose is to organize events on preference handling, to create visibility for this topic, and to ensure a good interaction with classic decision sciences. In particular, the Association of European Operational Research Societies has a long tradition in preference modelling and we are very happy to constitute a EURO Working Group on advances in preference handling.
This said, it is important to note that the community supporting this working group is multidisciplinary and international in nature and we believe that this diversity will provide interesting occasions for fruitful synergies.