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Tracking, Again

Last week, I mentioned an experiment that we ran with changing the order of tracking steps. I noted that the overall result was that the original, expert-chosen order worked better than the new, proposed order.

In this example, the costs weren't all that different. But I could imagine situations where there are big differences in the costs between the different steps. In that case, the order could have big cost implications.

I'm also thinking that a common situation is where you have lots of cheap (and somewhat ineffective steps) and one expensive (and effective) step. I'm wondering if it would be possible to identify cases that should skip the cheap treatments and go right to the expensive treatment. Just as a cost savings measure. It would have to result in the same chance of locating the person. In other words, the skipped steps would have to have the same or less information than the costly step. My hunch is that such situations actually exist. The trick is finding them...

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