About CSEL

Founded in 1982, CSEL is the oldest Cognitive Systems Engineering university laboratory. We have developed knowledge, methods, and tools to guide the design of systems at the intersection of people, technology, and work in complex settings. CSEL's goal is to contribute to both science and engineering, respectively by focusing on models of human performance in the design and interaction with cognitive tools and by delving into the actual design and development of such tools.

As researchers and designers, we identify patterns and leverage new technologies to support dynamic decision making in the face of anomalies, uncertainty, stress, and even intentional deception by adversaries. Specifically, we are concerned with cognitive functions such as problem solving, decision making, attention, perception, and memory. Our technological innovations are multidisciplinary, incorporating data analytics, graphic design, human-centered design, and other fields into our own methods. When constantly evolving technological capabilities create possibilities, Cognitive Engineering transforms these putative benefits into effectivity. CSEL's integrative perspective on technology and cogntive science grounds technology in the complexities of real worlds of practice and realizes sustainable improvement in human performance.

History of CSEL

Dr. Phil Smith and Dr. Dave Woods, among others, identified the need for Cognitive Systems Engineering (CSE) principles in a world with advancing technology and increasing complexity. While Dr. Woods worked with Dr. Erik Hollnagel to found the field in the aftermath of the Three Mile Island incident, Dr. Smith turned their ideas and those of Don Norman into the first university-based CSE program and laboratory.

CSEL is now run by Dr. Mike Rayo and Dr. Dave Woods, and Dr. Phil Smith continues to serve as an advisor while carrying out his own research. Dr. Martjin Ijtsma and Dr. Sam Krening joined the CSE faculty in 2019.

Plan Your Visit

We're located on the 3rd floor of the Baker Systems Engineering building. The closest parking garage is the Tuttle Parking Garage, located at 2050 Tuttle Park Place. Driving directions to campus and the garage are provided here, as well as walking directions from the garage.

Facilities and Resources

The Cognitive Systems Lab is located on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Baker Systems Engineering building located in the heart of North Campus at The Ohio State University. We have 4 faculty memebers, 14 graduate students, and 3 lab areas available for research experiments.