Dr. Regina Peldszus

Regina Peldszus completed her PhD in design research at Kingston University, London, in 2012. From 2013 to 2015 she was an Internal Research Fellow with the European Space Agency in Darmstadt, Germany, where she conducted a study on human behaviour and performance aspects of system resilience in satellite operations. Previously, she contributed to space human factors and simulation projects in Europe, Russia and the US.
Her research interests focus on human-technology interaction in large-scale complex sociotechnical systems, including characteristics of safety-critical and high-reliability domains, organisational culture and operational practice, and policy of human systems integration.
Forthcoming publications include: With S. Buckle and L. Bessone: “Adaptation of the ISS Human Behaviour & Performance Competency Model as Observation & Debriefing Tool for Mission Control Teams During Simulations”. In: T. Sgobba and I. Rongier (Ed.): Space Safety is No Accident, 2015 Springer. For further information see: www.spaceflightdesign.org



Operational Ethics & Fidelity of Simulation in Safety-Critical Domains

Live and virtual simulation applications are used for operational training and familiarisation, system validation, empirical research, retrospective investigation and strategic foresight undertakings in various safety-critical or high-reliability domains. In sectors such as aerospace, defence and security, infrastructure, energy or public health, they afford transformative experiences for participants and invaluable insight for analysts without exposing individual operators, assets or the public to the same level of risk as actual operations.

Yet, due to the rapid refinement of modelling and simulation applications that allow for the increasingly greater fidelity of a synthetic environment, or when exercises are carried out in actual field settings, a grey zone of the ‘real’ and the ‘simulated’ emerges where experiences are equally tangible. A number of ethical implications (re-)surface for the stakeholders of simulations (facility operators, system designers, participants and other customers). These concern for instance the degree to which participants are informed and exposed to stressors; related trade-offs between announcement and learning value; the nature, severity and likelihood of a scenario; observer behaviour and intervention; and practices of how what is learnt or revealed during simulations is shared, discussed and utilised. As each of the constituent groups place different demands on the quality and output of the simulation experience, fidelity is hence constrained not only by technical feasibility and resource allocation; it is equally bound by explicit and tacit frameworks of normative industry guidelines, standards, and corporate values, responsibilities or codes.

By reviewing previously collected ethnographic and archive material on simulations in computer-supported collaborative work (CSCW) environments, this project examines and synthesises the mechanisms of how simulator fidelity, as a product of organisational, informational and architectural design, is practically governed by related guidelines and organizational policies. It lays out a continuum of fidelity, onto which high-level use cases are mapped, particularly from distributed simulations that rehearse decision-making processes or the handling of complex events in international command and control environments. In probing these for manifestations of internal and external policies and strategies, the project seeks to understand the concrete roles that computing applications – in virtual simulation or through their permeation of live simulation and operations settings – can potentially assume in the resolution, exacerbation or circumvention of ethical issues in simulation.

Situated broadly within the area of human-technology interaction, this exploratory study draws on approaches and perspectives in Cognitive Systems Engineering and Design Research that particularly lend themselves to exploring the macroergonomic dimension of human experience and agency in large-scale sociotechnical systems.