Describing the Human in Models for Systems Design
Defense and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine North York, ON Canada
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This paper raises some general issues related to the gap which is perceived to exist between the human factors knowledge base and engineering design, particularly when dealing with decision making during the earliest stages of system development. The contribution of modeling to bridging this gap is discussed, as are problems associated with incorporating human factors knowledge into the type of computational models favored by the engineering and operations research OR communities. Despite well recognized difficulties, a number of areas where this gap has been bridged successfully can be cited. A particular example where human factors knowledge has been incorporated into a computational model, borrowed from the OR and industrial engineering worlds is discussed in detail. The model, called LOCATE, is the heart of a computer-aided design tool intended for a class of workspace layout problem where the emergent properties due to human capabilities and characteristics can dominate system performance.