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A novel artificial intelligent approach: comparison of machine learning tools and algorithms based on optimization DEA Malmquist productivity index for eco-efficiency evaluation

Mirpouya Mirmozaffari (Department of Industrial Engineering, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas, USA)
Elham Shadkam (Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Khayyam University, Mashhad, Iran)
Seyyed Mohammad Khalili (Department of Management, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran)
Kamyar Kabirifar (Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia)
Reza Yazdani (Department of Management, Islamic Azad University, Chalous Branch, Chalous, Iran)
Tayyebeh Asgari Gashteroodkhani (Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran)

International Journal of Energy Sector Management

ISSN: 1750-6220

Article publication date: 22 March 2021

Issue publication date: 12 May 2021




Cement as one of the major components of construction activities, releases a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, resulting in adverse environmental impacts and high energy consumption. Increasing demand for CO2 consumption has urged construction companies and decision-makers to consider ecological efficiency affected by CO2 consumption. Therefore, this paper aims to develop a method capable of analyzing and assessing the eco-efficiency determining factor in Iran’s 22 local cement companies over 2015–2019.


This research uses two well-known artificial intelligence approaches, namely, optimization data envelopment analysis (DEA) and machine learning algorithms at the first and second steps, respectively, to fulfill the research aim. Meanwhile, to find the superior model, the CCR model, BBC model and additive DEA models to measure the efficiency of decision processes are used. A proportional decreasing or increasing of inputs/outputs is the main concern in measuring efficiency which neglect slacks, and hence, is a critical limitation of radial models. Thus, the additive model by considering desirable and undesirable outputs, as a well-known DEA non-proportional and non-radial model, is used to solve the problem. Additive models measure efficiency via slack variables. Considering both input-oriented and output-oriented is one of the main advantages of the additive model.


After applying the proposed model, the Malmquist productivity index is computed to evaluate the productivity of companies over 2015–2019. Although DEA is an appreciated method for evaluating, it fails to extract unknown information. Thus, machine learning algorithms play an important role in this step. Association rules are used to extract hidden rules and to introduce the three strongest rules. Finally, three data mining classification algorithms in three different tools have been applied to introduce the superior algorithm and tool. A new converting two-stage to single-stage model is proposed to obtain the eco-efficiency of the whole system. This model is proposed to fix the efficiency of a two-stage process and prevent the dependency on various weights. Converting undesirable outputs and desirable inputs to final desirable inputs in a single-stage model to minimize inputs, as well as turning desirable outputs to final desirable outputs in the single-stage model to maximize outputs to have a positive effect on the efficiency of the whole process.


The performance of the proposed approach provides us with a chance to recognize pattern recognition of the whole, combining DEA and data mining techniques during the selected period (five years from 2015 to 2019). Meanwhile, the cement industry is one of the foremost manufacturers of naturally harmful material using an undesirable by-product; specific stress is given to that pollution control investment or undesirable output while evaluating energy use efficiency. The significant concentration of the study is to respond to five preliminary questions.



Mirmozaffari, M., Shadkam, E., Khalili, S.M., Kabirifar, K., Yazdani, R. and Asgari Gashteroodkhani, T. (2021), "A novel artificial intelligent approach: comparison of machine learning tools and algorithms based on optimization DEA Malmquist productivity index for eco-efficiency evaluation", International Journal of Energy Sector Management, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 523-550.



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