16.422 | Spring 2004 | Graduate

Human Supervisory Control of Automated Systems


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


Prof. M. Cummings

Prof. R. J. Hansman

Required Text

Wickens, C. D., and J. G. Hollands. Engineering Psychology and Human Performance. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc., 2000. ISBN: 0321047117.

Course Objectives

This is a graduate student class designed to examine the fundamental issues of human supervisory control, wherein humans interact with complex dynamic systems, mediated through various levels of automation. This course will explore how humans interact with automated systems of varying complexities, what decision processes can be encountered in complex man-machine systems, and how automated systems can be designed to support both human strengths and weaknesses. Several case studies will be presented from a variety of domains as illustrations. A secondary objective of this class is to provide an opportunity to improve both oral and written presentation skills.

Group Presentation Assignment

After selecting a partner, students should select a topic from the list below and prepare a 10-15 minute presentation on the history of the incident for an in-class presentation. Special attention should be given to the issues surrounding the problems with automated systems and recommendations.

  • DC-10 landing in CWS mode, December 21, 1992, Faro Airport, Portugal
  • China Airlines Boeing 747, February 19, 1985, 300 NM NW of San Francisco
  • DC-10 overrun, February 8, 1984, JFK, New York
  • B-747 uncommanded roll, February 19, 1996, Toronto, Ontario
  • A320 accident, June 26, 1988, Mulhouse-Habsheim France
  • A320 approach accident, January 20, 1992, Strasbourg, France
  • A300 approach accident, April 26, 1994, Nagoya, Japan
  • A330 takeoff accident, June 30, 1994, Toulouse, France
  • A320 approach accident, February 14, 1990, Bangalore, India
  • A-320 landing overrun, September 14, 1993, Warsaw Airport, Poland
  • USAIR Flight 1016 go-around, July 2, 1994, Charlotte, NC
  • American Airlines Flight 965, December 20, 1995, Cali, Colombia
  • X-15 Adaptive control, November 15, 1967, Delamar Dry Lake, NV

Other Accidents with Automation Issues

  • Washington Metro train collision, January 6, 1996, Shady Grove, MD
  • Therac-25, June 1985 through January 1987
  • USS Vincennes, July 3, 1988, Persian Gulf
  • London Ambulance Service computer aided dispatch problem, October 1992
  • Pipeline release of hazardous liquid, May 23, 1996, Gramercy LA
  • Grounding of the ship Royal Majesty, June 10, 1995, Nantucket, Massachusetts

Grade Basis

Group Presentation 10%
Mid-term Presentation 10%
Literature Review 10%
Final Written 30%
Final Oral 20%
Participation 20%
Total 100%

Academic Honesty Policy

It is expected that within this course, the highest standards of academic integrity will be maintained, in keeping with MIT’s stated policy: “Fundamental to the principle of independent learning and professional growth is the requirement of honesty and integrity in conduct of one’s academic and nonacademic life…. Cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, and other forms of academic dishonesty are considered serious offenses for which disciplinary penalties can be imposed.” Specifically in this class, collaboration is allowed for the group project but the term projects and related efforts are individual efforts. All referenced work should be appropriately cited (APA format), to include websites, as well as figures and graphs in presentations. If there are any questions whatsoever, feel free to contact the course instructors about any possible gray areas.