In the late 1950’s Jim was one of the earliest who worked with human/computer interfaces. This occurred at MIT’s Lincoln Labs on the SAGE system, the predecessor to NORAD, our National Command and Control System. At the USAF Decision Sciences Laboratory, he contributed to further NORAD developments. These interconnected systems eventually morphed into the DoD’s ARPANET and subsequently the Internet.
While at the Army Research Institute (ARI), as head of ARI’s human factors research program in Heidelberg, Germany, Jim was responsible for the human-computer integration effort associated with the field development of the Army’s first mobile, computerized Tactical Operations System (TOS). Back in the U.S. at ARI, Jim addressed training development problems concerned with the applications of automation, simulation, computer-based instruction, and training device technology, all with the goal of to improving combat readiness. He also developed methodologies to assess the validity of human factors inputs to the army’s acquisition process. In this capacity he was instrumental in the development of the Army's MANPRINT methodology.
Other accomplishments include teaching Human Factors at the University of Maryland, working in industry addressing skill development for migrant farm workers and USPS employees, and mentoring innumerable human factors professionals. These are but a few of many accomplishments noted in Jim’s HFES profile where his storied history as an engineering and research psychologist may be found here. A review of that profile will provide perspectives on our profession, some history of its beginnings, and sage advice on the development of one’s own career.
Jim’s admirable approach to issues of diversity pre-dated recent thinking by many years. Time spent in his company was always a joyful learning experience interspersed with amazing stories based on his astonishing breadth of experience. So many of us who knew Jim have benefited from his kind guidance and worldly wisdom, passed along with a measure of wit and gleeful storytelling, attesting to his Irish roots.
Peter A. Doyle
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