David Woods

Professor, Integrated Systems Engineering

David Woods (Ph.D., Purdue, Cognitive Psychology, 1979) is Full Professor in Integrated Systems Engineering at the Ohio State University. He has developed and advanced the foundations and practice of Cognitive Systems Engineering since its origins in the aftermath of the Three Mile Island accident in nuclear power. This field combines concepts and techniques from cognitive psychology, computer science, and social sciences to study how people cope with complexity. His studies have focused on human systems in time pressured situations such as critical care medicine, aviation, space missions, intelligence analysis, and crisis management. He designs new systems to help people find meaning in large data fields when they are under pressure to diagnose anomalies and re-plan activities. His latest work is model and measure the adaptive capacities of organizations and distributed systems to determine how they are resilient and if they are becoming too brittle in the face of change. His H index (measure of research impact) is 40 (with 13 publications cited over 100 times)* Multimedia overviews of his research are available at Cognitive Systems Engineering Laboratory website.

He has co-authored the books Behind Human Error (1994) and A Tale of Two Stories: Contrasting Views of Patient Safety (1998), Joint Cognitive Systems: Foundations (2005), Joint Cognitive Systems: Patterns (2006), and Resilience Engineering (2006). Dr. Woods has served on several National Academy of Science and other advisory committees including Aerospace Research Needs (2003), Engineering the Delivery of Health Care (2005), and Dependable Software (2006). He has testified to U.S. Congress on Safety at NASA and on Election Reform. He was a board member of the National Patient Safety Foundation during its its startup, Associate Director of the Midwest Center for Inquiry on Patient Safety of the Veterans Health Administration, and advisor to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. Dr. Woods has been President of the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society. He is a Fellow of that society as well as the American Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association. He has shared the Ely Award for best paper in the journal Human Factors (1994), a Laurels Award from Aviation Week and Space Technology (1995) for research on the human factors of highly automated cockpits, the Jack Kraft Innovators Award from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (2002), an IBM Faculty Award (2005), a Google Faculty Award (2008), and five patents for computerized decision aids.