Analytic Network Process

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The Analytic Network Process (ANP) is a more general form of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) used in multi-criteria decision analysis. Both processes have been widely used on a practical level, for example by Asian businesses to assist in selecting suppliers.

Both AHP and ANP structure a decision problem into levels forming a hierarchy, then use a system of pairwise comparisons to measure the weights of the items in the hierarchy, and finally to rank the alternatives in the decision. In AHP, each element in the hierarchy is considered to be independent of all the others.

But in many real-world cases, there is interdependence among the items and the alternatives. ANP does not require independence among elements, so it can be used as an effective tool in these cases. For example, ANP allows for decision elements to "control" or "be controlled" by the varying levels, decision criteria or alternatives.