人-机-环境系统工程 (MMESE)

About MMESE

About MMESE

 
In 1981, according to the practice made in the researches on the manned space activities and the careful analysis to the relevant information home and abroad, under the inspiration and instruction of the systematic science thought of Scientist Qian Xuesen, Professor Chen Xin and Long Shengzhao put forward in broad outline the scientific concept of Man-Machine-Environment System Engineering (MMESE). This marked the formation of this new science in China.
 
Using the theory of systematic science and the approach of the system engineering, MMESE is a science which deals correctly with the relationship between man, machine and environment, and studies deeply the optimum combination of man-machine- environment system. Its research objects are man-machine-environment systems. In the system the "Man" means the working people as the subject in the workplace (e.g. operator, decision-maker); The "Machine" means the general name of any object controlled by man (e.g. automobiles, aeroplanes, boats and ships, production process etc.); The "Environment" means the specially working conditions under which Man and Machine occupy together (e.g. temperature, noise, vibration, hazardous gases etc.). Basic goal of the optimum combination is "Safety, High Efficiency and Economy". What is called the "Safety" means there is no physiological hazard to human bodies, and the accidents should be minimized as possible as they can; the so-called the "High Efficiency" means the overall system has the best working performance or the highest working efficiency; the "Economy" indicates the establishment of the system should cost with minimum on the premise of the technical requirements with which the system satisfied, i.e. the ensurence of the system economy.
 
The most significant characteristic of MMESE is that on the basis of the deep research on their own performance of man, machine and environment, regarding them as three major components of the system, it lays stress on the general performance of the overall system, accordingly, through the information delivery, processing and control between these three components, makes them constitute a complex interconnected macro system, and enables the system to have the comprehensive performance of "Safety, High Efficiency and Economy" with the use of system engineering approaches. Moreover, the MMESE abandoned the previous passive viewpoint of regarding the environment as disturbing factors, and advocates actively the overall planning and controlling to the environment in accordance with the general requirements of the system by looking upon it as one link. As a result of the above, the MMESE not only brings Human Factors, Human Engineering, Engineering Psychology, Ergonomics, Human Factors Engineering, Man-Machine System etc. into a unified scientific frame, avoiding the disorders in concepts and terms; but also studies the priority order of various combination of man- machine-environment system from the high level of the overall system, changing the previous dispersion and isolation of research situation; all of which make the practical activities regarding the design and development of man-machine-environment system enter into a new stage. It should be pointed out that the appearance of the MMESE doesn't mean negating or taking the place of the above subjects, but raises these similar or supplement each other research categories to a higher level and wider field for analyzing and synthesizing, further, pushes the research level of these fields to a new stage.
 
To sum up, the pre1940' is the embryonic stage of MMESE; the 1940' to the 1970' is the preparation stage; the early 1980' is the actual development stage of this theory. Although it is in early stage, the concepts of MMESE have influenced every human activities. Its continuous development and day by day perfection must exert its active impacts on the development of science and technology.
 
 
 
1. RESEARCH CONTENTS OF MMESE
The research contents of MMESE can be illustrated in figure 1. It contains seven aspects, that is: research on the man character,  research on the machine character,  research on the environment character, research on the man-machine relationship, research on the man-environment relationship, research on the machine-environment relationship, research on the overall performance of man-machine-environment system. The major research points of these seven aspects are briefly described as follows:
 
 
 
1.1  Research on the man character
It is primary includes the study of human working capacity; measurement and evaluation of human fundamental capability; The study of human physical and mental workload; the study of human reliability; the study of human mathematical model (control model and decision-making model); the study of anthropometric technology; the study of operator selecting and training.
 
1.2  Research on the machine character
It is primary includes operability and maintainability of the machine; dynamic modeling technology of the controlled objects; the study of error-preventing design for the machine. 
 
1.3  Research on the environment character
It is primary includes the study of environment monitoring technology; the study of environment controlling technology; the study of environment modeling technology.
 
1.4  Research on the man-machine relationship
It is primary includes research on the static man-machine relationship, for instance, the arrangement of work space and its design; research on the dynamic man-machine, including: the study of the function allocation of the man and machine (the study on the function comparison of the man and machine, the study of the allocation methods of functions for the man and machine, the study oh artificial intelligence); the study of man-machine interface (display and control technology, the design and evaluation of man-machine interface); the application of multiple-medium technology to the study of man-machine relationship.
 
1.5  Research on the man-environment relationship
It is primary includes environmental influence on man; the study of personal protective measures.
 
1.6  Research on the machine-environment relationship
It is primary includes environmental influence on machine performance; machine influence on environment.
 
1.7  Research on the overall performance of man-machine-environment system
It is primary includes the study of the overall mathematical model of man-machine-environment system; the study of total mathematical simulation, half physical simulation and total physical simulation technology of man-machine-environment system; the analysis, design and evaluation of the overall performance of man-machine-environment system (Safety, High Efficiency and Economy).
 
 2.  IMPLEMENT METHODS OF MMESE
The implement methods of the MMESE can be summarized as follows in four sentences: i.e., based on three theories (the cybernetics, the optimization theory and the modeling theory), analyzing three factors (the Man, the Machine and the Environment), going through three procedures (scheme decision, development and production, and operational use), achieving three goals (the Safety, the High Efficiency and the Economy). 
 
2.1  Based on three theories
The MMESE is an interdisciplinary science and technology. It absorbs rich nutrition from a series of fundamental subjects for the establishment of its own theoretical system, which, in turn, lays a foundation of its own elementary theory. Its basic theory may be summarized into cybernetics, modeling theory and optimization theory.
 
2.1.1  Cybernetics
The fundamental dedication of cybernetics lies in that it broke down the barriers between the organic and the inorganic substance with such general concepts and terms as system, information, feedback so that it can not only enable men to study these three factors (man, machine and environment), by means of unified viewpoint and yardstick, whose material attributes are entirely different and not interrelated, but also make itself an organic, undivided whole.
 
2.1.2  Modeling theory
Modeling theory can provide a set of complete mathematical analysis tool for research of the Man-Machine-Environment System Engineering. It is obvious that the MMESE requires not only qualifying but also describing the motion pattern of the whole system quantitatively. For this reason, an appropriate mathematical model must be utilized in light of the different object, and through the procedures such as modeling, parameter discriminating, simulating and checking, the actual world regular law can be demonstrated with the use of mathematical terms.
 
2.1.3  Optimization theory
The primary starting point of optimization theory is that there tends to be many different kinds of approaches and ways in search of the optimization combination for a man-machine-environment system, where there must be one or several kind of best or better combination. Such a viewpoint and train of thought for seeking the optimization is the quintessence of the MMESE. The optimization theory is the mathematical means for embodying the quintessence.
 
2.2  Analyzing three factors
The aim of the analysis of three factors (the Man, the Machine and the Environment), is mainly to study how to constitute the desired man-machine-environment system with specially designated functions by means of these three factors. Often, man-machine-environment systems can be divided into three categories in terms of its specifications and complexity.
 
2.2.1  Simple man-machine-environment systems
In this system, one operator alone operates one machine only, working under the specially designated environment. Current automobiles, trains, planes and so on belong to such kind of system.
 
2.2.2  Complex man-machine-environment systems
The characteristics of this kind of system is that one operator may operate simultaneously two machines or over; or, one or several machines may be operated by several operators at the same time. Many existing industrial machines are operated in the way described above.
 
2.2.3  Macro man-machine-environment systems
This kind of system exists widely in the various production enterprises. Its supreme decision-maker conducts the coordinated management and system control for the working situations of the subordinate departments through a set of command/control system. This is, in a broad sense, a typical man-machine-environment system.
 
It is apparent that any kind of simple, complex and macro man-machine-environment system is a complicated macro-system. This is because human body himself is a macro system, so are the machine (or computers), plus various environmental effects, all of these contribute the complication of such macro man-machine-environment. It has been proved practically that the general performance of a system is determined not only by their separate performance of its components, but also by the link pattern between its components, i.e. the delivery, processing and control of the information. Therefore, it is quite difficult to achieve the optimum combination of the man, the machine and the environment. Furthermore, the researches on these three factors (the man, the machine and the environment) originated from the different subject fields, whose research methods and principles are also quite different. At present, in order to compose a complex macro-system with them, a theory must be established which can be used to describe uniformly their own specifications and interrelations of the man, the machine and the environment. Without such a theory as guide, you could not begin to talk about the deep research to the whole system, neither the achievement of the optimum design of the whole system. It is the MMESE that appeared right in view of this situation.
 
2.3  Going through three procedures
In order to apply the Man-Machine-Environment System Engineering theory to various fields, generally speaking, such three stages should be experienced as scheme decision, development and production, and operational use.
 
2.3.1  Scheme decision stage
The scheme decision phase belongs to theoretical analysis category, also is the decisive phase. In this stage, the Man-Machine-Environment System Engineering theory can provide a set of complete decision theory for the general plan design of man-machine-environment system, in which the principal purpose is to set up their own mathematical model of the Man, the Machine, the Environment, and the overall system model. Then the mathematical simulation of the whole system and optimum calculation may be carried out by means of computer for the determining of the optimum parameters of the Man, the Machine and the Environment, and the optimum combination scheme of the system.
 
2.3.2  Development and production stage
In the development and production phase, the task of the Man-Machine-Environment System Engineering theory is to decide the best approach to achieve the optimum scheme. The phase lay stress on man, the main body of work, participating the system. Through half or total physical simulation, the whole and local performance of man-machine-environment system can be continuously analyzed and checked, and the technical index of every sub-systems be coordinated so that the optimum performance of the system be achieved.
 
2.3.3  Operational use stage
In the operational use stage, the task of the Man-Machine-Environment System Engineering theory is to give some opinions on how to fully develop the existing system performance (e.g. criterion for operator selecting and program of operators training) so that each component can exert its maximum functions; and to give new proposals for further improvement and promotion of the system performance.
 
2.4  Achieving three aims
In general, it is difficult to meet simultaneously these three indexes (Safety, High Efficiency and Economy) and sometimes contradictory. Therefore, in order to achieve these three goals (Safety, High Efficiency and Economy) of the established the man- machine-environment system with the use of system engineering approach, we need firstly to assume several design scheme, then to conduct total mathematical simulation, half or total physical simulation in accordance with each scheme. According to overall performance of the system, the optimum scheme can be determined. After carrying out the feasibility study of the system scheme, the decision can made on the optimum scheme. The scheme chosen on the basis of the above is the perfect scheme.
 
In a word, with the use of the research approach of the Man-Machine-Environment System Engineering, it enable men to step from quality to quantity, from inaccuracy to accuracy, from experience to science in designing and establishing any man-machine-environment system. It may not only achieve the optimum combination of the man-machine-environment system, but also avoid a great deal of rework in engineering technology and a large amount of waste in economy, thus the development and production process will be speeded up.
 
 
3. APPLICATIONS PROSPECT ANALYSIS OF MMESE
Obviously, at any production process, working machines/tools are the material base for the production of materials and the fundamental necessity for the promotion of productive forces. However, any machine require of men operation, and man and machine exist under some specially designated environment. Therefore, the working machine is just a potential productive forces, only by combining it with man and working environment organically can it become the realistic productive forces(see Figure 2). For this reason, to promote social productive forces dramatically, we must fully utilize the cream of modern science and technology; transition from the general qualitative description of consciousness and material, subjective and objective, man and machine to their quantitative description from the high plane of philosophy;  need not only  the foundation of  scientific theories and the approach of scientific recordings, also measures for recordings, also measures for bringing the initiative of men into full play. The vigorous application and development of MMESE concerning the researches on working machines will enable human being to achieve a new leap from quality to quantity, from perceptual knowledge to scientific experimental research on the basis of the study of Human Engineering, Physiology, Psychology, Ergonomics, Human Factors, Engineering Technology and Environmental science, which provide reliable scientific and technical means for the development of productive forces.
 
When we describe the social production activities, we must start with the simple man-machine-environment systems which is the most common, ordinary and elementary component. Therefore, when we study any single working group, we should begin with the most simple, one to one working unit, subsequently, one to several, several to one, several to several working unit (i.e. complex man-machine-environment system), at last study the large scale working group (i.e. macro man-machine-environment system). Man-machine-environment system engineering is an effective scientific means for conducting these researches. In view of the above, as long as we can actively use man-machine-environment system engineering theory, we should fully expose the various regular pattern regarding the development of productive forces, furtherly, provide the scientific bases and its implementing ways for the promotion of productive forces.