homedemos & tools › analysis of competing hypotheses (ach)


Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH)
a simple model how to think about a complex problem



WHAT: A simple model for how to think about a complex problem when the available information is incomplete or ambiguous, as typically happens in intelligence analysis. The software downloadable here takes an analyst through a process for making a well-reasoned, analytical judgment.

WHY: It is particularly useful for issues that require careful weighing of alternative explanations of what has happened, is happening, or is likely to happen in the future. It helps the analyst overcome, or at least minimize, some of the cognitive limitations that make prescient intelligence analysis so difficult.

HOW: It is grounded in basic insights from cognitive psychology, decision analysis, and the scientific method. It helps analysts protect themselves from avoidable error, and improves their chances of making a correct judgment.

WHO: This software was developed by PARC in collaboration with Richards J. Heuer, Jr. It was developed for use by the U.S. Intelligence Community with funding from the Intelligence Community's Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR). 

NOTE: In distributing ACH, PARC is making the presently downloadable version of the program available to the general public at no cost when used for non-commercial or educational purposes subject to the terms and conditions of its end user license.