Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 41

In Memoriam

by Chris Miller

D

Raja Parasuraman,
an Innovator
in Human-Automation
Interaction

r. Raja Parasuraman, a lion in
the fields of human factors,
neuroscience, systems engineering, aviation safety, and psychology (see "Raja's Life"), passed away
on 22 March 2015. While Raja did not
publish frequently in IEEE journals,
his work was extraordinarily relevant to the focus of IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems.
In three of his few publications in the
predecessors to this journal, I had
out hearing an ironic or corny overI found the discipline's emphasis on
the honor of being his coauthor. Raja
tone in them, but Raja made them
practical solutions liberating and exwas a mentor, professor, and guide to
serious, practical, and inspiring. That
citing, but it was at this conference,
many people in the field of human-
sense of zeal and mission is a large
through presentations by Raja, Mouautomation interaction. I cannot
part of what has kept me working in
loua, Hancock, and
begin to summarize
and dedicated to this field ever since.
others, that I discovtheir experiences, but
It is great to have a job, and it is better
ered something more.
I can relate my own
to have a career, but feeling called to
These luminaries
by sharing the loss we
a mission that makes the world better
conveyed the idea of huhave all suffered.
is best of all.
man-machine system
I first encountered
Raja certainly showed us the way
design as more than
Raja at the initial Huto make the world better. From his
a useful job or even
man Performance in
earliest papers on human vigilance
an exciting career. InAutomated Systems
and attention [2]; through defining
stead, they talked about
Conference held in
works that expanded and clarified our
it as something closer
Rockville, Maryland,
understanding of human-automation
to a mission, even a
7-9 April 1994. Raja Dr. Raja Parasuraman.
interaction and related topics of ercalling. Human-factors
and Moustapha Mouror, trust, and memory [3], [4]; and to
engineers should strive for a safe, proloua had organized the conference to
the essential creation of the field of
ductive, and empowering world for hubring together researchers with a foneuroergomics [5]; he has provided us
man operators of automation, and any
cus on the human role in interacting
with scientifically valid ways to imdesign that did not achieve these goals
with automated systems. As Vincenzi,
prove the designs of human-automawas not just inadequate, it was wrong in
Mouloua, and Peter Hancock point out
tion systems. Beyond that, however,
an almost moralistic sense. This vision
in their introduction to a later conferhe has provided practical guidance
gave my growing love and respect for my
ence in the series [1], even the title of
a nd active assisnewfound field an elethe conference was innovative and
tance across a wide
ment of zeal. I was not
paradoxical at the time-the notion
variety of fields in
just a designer, nor
that human performance existed withThese luminaries
applying his knowleven an engineer and
in and had an impact on automated
conveyed the
edge-most notably
builder. I should be,
systems was somewhat novel and not
idea of human-
in his seven-year
like Raja and the othuniversally accepted.
machine system
membership (and
ers, a prophet striving
At that time, I was a newly minted
four-year chairmanto bring about a betPh.D. who found himself in the field
design as more
ship) of the National
ter and more perfect
of human factors, a field I had never
than a useful
Research Council's
world of human-maheard of until after graduate school.
job or even an
Pa nel on Hu ma n
chine systems.
exciting
career.
Factors, which led,
It
is
hard
to
write
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MSMC.2015.2442192
among other things,
those words withDate of publication: 16 September 2015
Ap ri l 2015

IEEE Systems, Man, & Cybernetics Magazine

41



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015

Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover1
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover3
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