Applying Operations Research Models to the Study of Complex Man-Machine Interfaces

  • Ronald J. Reiner
  • Ashok K. Tandon


The research reported here is one phase of a programmatic effort at the Essex Corporation to expand the system designer’s ability to assess the efficiency of complex man-machine interfaces. The first effort was development of the Computer-Aided Performance and Reliability Assessment (CAPRA) model which predicts time-on-task (TOT) and probability of success (Ps) for relatively simple interfaces. This paper describes the extension of the earlier research into the domain of multiple operators working with concurrent interfaces. Under this effort, the Multiple Operator/Parallel System Interface Evaluation (MOPSIE) model was developed. It utilizes conventional operations research techniques to better quantify task complexity and assess the importance of operator skill and intelligence.

MOPSIE equates the skill of the operator to the efficiency with which he can process his workload using the proposed interface. By assessing the importance of efficiency on productivity, the model is projecting the importance of operator skill on productivity. The model enumerates the multitude of paths which an operator can follow in order to process a given workload in the context of a concurrent interface. Every possible path represents a certain level of efficiency which can be quantified in terms of overall productivity. By comparing the best cases to the worst within the path set, the model can demonstrate the importance of operator skill and intelligence.


Idle Time Operator Skill Good Path Single Large Copier Operation Research Technique 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald J. Reiner
    • 1
  • Ashok K. Tandon
    • 1
  1. 1.Essex CorporationAlexandriaUSA

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