System Dynamics and Engineering Systems: A Sociotechnical Journey
Abstract: This presentation describes a multidisciplinary, multidimensional, and multi-method view of sociotechnical systems engineering applied to the study of human groups, teams, and organizations. Examinations of multiple research traditions (and their contemporary contexts) and the author’s disciplinary training provide an overview of an eclectic approach to a human factors and industrial engineering study of macroergonomics, human-technology interactions, and human-systems integration. Although this presentation does reference and briefly touch on various mathematical descriptions of engineering system behavior, it is intended to be accessible to a non-expert audience. Important and influential applications of the author’s approach include multiple examples of NASA-related research and education, and the development of an integrated consideration of multiple “languages” of systems engineering and systems dynamics. While primarily retrospective, this presentation also addresses conceptual approaches for the study of robustness, stability and resilience of complex sociotechnical systems, with particular emphasis on the environmental conditions, event responses, and damping characteristics of human systems such as the public land grant university.
Bio: Barrett S. Caldwell, PhD is Professor of Industrial Engineering (and Aeronautics & Astronautics, by courtesy) at Purdue. His PhD (Univ. of California, Davis, 1990) is in Social Psychology, and BS degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics and Humanities (MIT, 1985). His research team is the Group Performance Environments Research (GROUPER) Laboratory. GROUPER examines and improves how people get, share, and use information well in settings including aviation, critical incident response, healthcare, and spaceflight operations. Prof. Caldwell has over 200 scientific publications, including journal articles, conference proceedings, and book chapters. Prof. Caldwell has served on multiple panels, and in a variety of projects, associated with the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM). He co-organized the National Academy of Engineering US Frontiers of Engineering (FOE) 2008 session on Cognitive Ergonomics, and participated in 2003 US FOE, 2006 German-American FOE and 2016 Japan-U.S. FOE. NASEM committee service has included panels on Systems Engineering to Improve Traumatic Brain Injury Care in the Military Health System; Human Factors Science at the Army Research Laboratory; Information Technology Automation and the U.S. Workforce; and, most recently, Human-AI Teaming: State of the Art and Research Needs. During 2016-17, Prof. Caldwell was a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State, assigned to environment, science, technology and health policy in the Office of Japanese Affairs. He is Past Secretary-Treasurer of the HFES, and has been Director and Principal Investigator of the NASA-funded Indiana Space Grant Consortium since 2002, promoting STEM education throughout Indiana.
Beginning in 2020, Prof. Caldwell has served on the Purdue Equity Task Force as a strategic advisor for the West Lafayette campus to address racial inequities facing recruitment, experience, and success of African-Americans at Purdue. Prof. Caldwell was appointed Provost Fellow in May 2021, focusing on Black graduate and professional students, faculty, and postdoctoral scholars.From January 1 – May 31, 2022, Prof. Caldwell is providing stewardship to the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue as the Interim Head.