The NATO Defence Research Group Workshop on Function Allocation
Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental Medicine North York, Ontario Canada
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From a review of human engineering analysis techniques in use in different nations, conducted from 1988 to 1991, a NATO Research Study Group concluded that Function Allocation was the weakest of the available classes of techniques. As a result the Group organised a workshop on Improving Function Allocation for Integrated Systems Design. The workshop concluded that the need for function allocation is clear it is an integral part of the process which synthesises a design solution for a particular system. The maturity of the recommended function allocation techniques is questionable the approach to function allocation has not changed significantly in three decades. No new techniques for function allocation were discussed at the workshop, although applications of improvements to existing approaches and a wide range of factors which should be included in the function allocation decision were reported. It became clear that it is important to test function allocation decisions as early as possible in the system development process through computer simulation, rapid prototyping, part-task simulation or human-in-the loop simulation. Directions for future research which were identified included the systematic compilation of information about function allocation issues and improving the techniques used for testing the function allocation decision.