Using the Tradeoff Analytics service


The Tradeoff Analytics service was updated on November 30, 2016. The Solution object now includes an excluded_by field that describes which options were strictly better than an EXCLUDED option. For more information about this and all recent changes to the service, see the Release notes.


The IBM Watson™ Tradeoff Analytics service helps people make better choices when faced with multiple, often conflicting, goals and alternatives. By using mathematical filtering techniques to identify the best candidate options based on different criteria, the service can help users explore the tradeoffs between options to make complex decisions. The service combines smart visualization and analytical recommendations for easy and intuitive exploration of tradeoffs.

Users of a Tradeoff Analytics application specify decision criteria by selecting objectives and preferences. Developers of such applications specify the available options and their characteristics. The service filters out less attractive options to encourage users' exploration of the remaining optimal candidates. In this way, the service helps decision makers consider only the goals that matter most and only the best candidates to make a final, informed decision.

You can see a quick demo of the Tradeoff Analytics service in action. You can also see a full-function demo with multiple example domains. Applications in Watson Developer Cloud Starter Kits also demonstrate the Tradeoff Analytics service. For information about the pricing plans available for the service, see the Tradeoff Analytics service in Bluemix®.

Learning more about the service

Refer to the following resources to learn more about the Tradeoff Analytics service:

  • Watch the Watson Tradeoff Analytics service video. The video provides a short, informative presentation that describes the service and its functionality.

  • Integrating the Tradeoff Analytics Service with Watson Explorer provides a tutorial for using the two solutions together. IBM Watson Explorer combines search and content analytics with unique cognitive computing capabilities that are available through external cloud services such as Watson Developer Cloud. The combination helps users find and understand the information they need to work more efficiently and to make better, more confident decisions. The tutorial creates a Tradeoff Analytics application in Bluemix and a Tradeoff Analytics widget for Watson Explorer that uses data indexed by the Watson Explorer Engine to provide visual and analytical recommendations about books.

  • Integrating IBM Cúram with a Watson Tradeoff Analytics service provides a working example of how to integrate the two solutions. The example is based on an existing accelerator called Independent Living, which creates a basic outcome plan and runs a simple assessment. Based on the assessment results, the system provides help to the planner to identify the most appropriate activities for a client. The planner can then use the Tradeoff Analytics service to select a provider for an activity. You can also watch a video that demonstrates how to use the Tradeoff Analytics service and IBM Cúram together.

Questions and feedback

We are always looking to improve and learn from your experience with our services. You can ask programming-related questions in the Watson forums on Stack Overflow. You can submit comments or ask product-related questions about this service in the Watson forum on dW Answers. You can also read general posts about Watson services that are written by IBM researchers, developers, and other experts on the Watson blog; for example, What makes Watson Tradeoff Analytics so different? and Making the right choice with IBM Watson Tradeoff Analytics.