NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Work systems design and evaluation addresses how to optimize the combined performance of human experts and the supporting information system. WSDE includes all aspects of human-machine integration: human with software, human with hardware, and human with human, as well as aspects of machine-machine interaction insofar as it impacts total human-system performance.

Project List (Active)

Lunar Surface Systems
The WSDE has participated in a series of Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) Bluesky workshops over the past two years devoted to developing operations concepts and designs for a small pressurized lunar electric rover (LER). The goal of this meeting was to “visualize innovative LER displays and controls that handle information and activities in a connected manner.” Three brainstorming sessions focused on presenting the status of consumables, improving situation awareness, and controlling the LER. In addition to graphic displays and joystick controllers, two “intelligent systems” technologies were emphasized: voice commanding and dynamic replanning of resources against changing timelines.

+ Visit Lunar Surface Systems

Mobile Agents
NASA’s Moon and Mars Analogue Mission Activities (MMAMA) program aims to develop operation concepts for surface science scenarios relevant to the preparation of planned human missions to the Moon and Mars. The current project, “Computer-Assisted Surface Science Scenarios to Develop Operational Procedures for Manned Lunar and Martian Missions Using the Individual Mobile Agents System” (PI: Brent Garry, Smithsonian), collects science data related to geologic research on lunar and Martian lava analog flows and establishes training scenarios using technology to assist Astronauts on an EVA.

+ Visit Mobile Agents

Orbital Communications Adapter Monitoring System (OCAMS)
OCAMS is the first application of intelligent multi-agent system (MAS) technology in NASA’s mission control operations. OCAMS was developed using NASA Ames’ Brahms multi-agent software tools. Brahms, which has been under development in the Ames Intelligent Systems Division since 1998, enables a “from simulation to implementation” software engineering methodology, in which a multi-agent simulation of people’s work practices are turned into a multi-agent workflow system that automates part of the process and integrates seamlessly with existing work practices.

+ Visit Orbital Communications Adapter Monitoring System (OCAMS)

Organization of Information
There is a stepwise progression in the way signals from the environment and the system under consideration are extracted and transformed into data, then analyzed and abstracted to form representations (e.g., indications and icons) on the user interface. In physical environments, such as aerospace and process control, many system components and their corresponding data and information are interrelated (e.g., an increase in a chamber’s temperature results in an increase in its pressure). These interrelationships, when presented clearly, allow users to understand relations among system components and how they may affect one another. Organization of these interrelationships by means of an orderly structure provides for the so-called “big picture” that pilots, astronauts, and operators strive for.

+ Visit Organization of Information

Work Systems Simulation (Brahms)

Brahms is a software tool used to model how people behave ("activities"), including movements and communication, as well as the environment, including documents and tools. The goal is to better understand how people interact with other people and with tools (like robots), so that NASA can design missions in which people and tools work well together. Brahms is being applied to a range of space exploration areas, including Mars habitats in the Arctic and Utah, and operations for a lunar robot. Brahms technology played a role in the Mars Exploration Rover Mission, the Mobile Agents project (see below), and the OCAMS project (also described below).
+ Visit Work Systems Simulation (Brahms)


Group Lead
William J. Clancey

Group Members
Asaf Degani
Lisa Faithorn
Peter A. Jarvis
Charlotte Linde
Michael Scott
Chin Seah
Maarten Sierhuis
Michael H Sims
Ron Van Hoof
Sandra L. Johan
Robert Nado

First Gov logo
NASA Logo -