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Bio

I'm a scientist in the Intelligent Systems Division at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. My area of expertise is human interaction with computers and automated systems. The work that I do combines psychology and engineering with mathematical modeling for the analysis and design of human-automation interaction and information systems. Specifically, my colleagues and I develop theories and methodologies for verification and generation of user interfaces as well as methods for organizing data and information (using techniques from Medieval Architecture). This work is done in the context of aircraft and spacecraft systems, but the approach and methods have already been applied to consumer products, medical systems, maritime systems, and process control industries.

Projects

  1. Visualization of cockpit information systems.
    Modern information systems contain and provide extensive volumes of data for analysis and display. In aerospace applications, sensor information about the state of the vehicle is vital, as the pilots, astronauts, and mission controllers are isolated and removed from the working of the machine. With the introduction of Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring (IVHM) technology, there will be even wider sensor coverage available, allowing for almost real-time computations of expected values, relations among observed values, trends, and composites of variables. The question of how to provide this wealth of data so as to help users in the process of monitoring the situation, analyzing it, making decision, and ultimately taking the appropriate action is the motivation for this research.
  2. A systematic approach for designing user interfaces.
    This research focuses on the development of an approach and methodology enabling verification of user interfaces, and a related methodology that allows the automatic generation of user interfaces. The focus is on the information content provided by the interfaces and in the user manuals, rather than on how this information is presented graphically. This work is conducted in cooperation with a large avionics company and can be used in the process of certifying automated systems (see Formal Analysis and Automatic Generation of User Interfaces).
  3. Procedure development.
    In this research we have developed an organizational model for procedure development (see On the design of flight-deck procedures), considered many operational aspects of procedures (see The human factors of flight-deck procedures), explored the sequential correctness of emergency procedures (see Formal aspects of procedures), and addressed how procedural information is presented to users (see On the typography of flight-deck procedures). The results of this research have been adopted by numerous U.S. and international airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), hospitals, military organizations, and operators of nuclear power plants.
  4. Design of emergency procedures.
    The focus of this research is on formal approachs for the analysis of emergency procedures and recovery sequences. The work is on systematic verification and synthesis using mathematical models and operational specifications. The approach and methodology enables analysis of candidate procedures as well as the use of algorithms for generation (synthesis) of procedures (see Generating Procedures and Recovery Sequences: A Formal Approach).
  5. Aviation safety
    This work addresses issues such as human error, mental models, decision making, and the human factors of cockpit systems (electrical, hydraulic, etc.).

Contact

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Asaf Degani, Ph.D.
Currently on sabbatical leave at General Motors R&D
asaf.degani@gmail.com

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