Bass, Ellen J.

Primary Appointment

Associate Professor, Systems and Information Engineering

Contact Information


Research Interests

cognitive modeling, cognitive systems engineering, dynamic decision making, human-automation interaction, human factors, intelligent decision support systems, intelligent learning environments

Research Description

<br/><br/>Ellen Bass is an assistant professor in the Department of Systems and Information Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia. She has over twenty years of experience in systems engineering with relevant experience in complex, dynamic systems, aviation human factors, and simulation. Bass earned a BS Eng. in Bioengineering and a BS Econ. in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 and an MS in Advanced Technology from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1989. She earned a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2002 where her research involved developing new methodologies for investigating human-automation interaction.
<br/><br/>Before coming to U VA, Bass had extensive experience engineering architectures for real-time, complex systems. In 1984-1986, Bass was a sub-system engineer at IBM for the LAMPS MK III (helicopter) project. She developed data handling procurement specifications, supported resolution of fleet and operations problems, and reviewed related engineering change proposals and waivers. In 1986-1988, Bass was a test engineer working for IBM on the AN/BSY-1 (submarine) project. She integrated the hardware and software for a passive acoustic function and wrote the integration plans for two passive acoustic functions. In 1988-1992, Bass was a systems engineer for IBM and then for SAIC on Advanced Automation System (AAS), an air traffic control (ATC) project. She developed the operational concepts, requirements specifications, and the user documentation for adapting several AAS functions that defined the human-computer interface. She also was the technical leader of the adaptation system engineering team.
<br/><br/>Prior to her U VA appointment, Bass had nine years of experience in cognitive systems engineering research and development. During the summer of 1993, Bass supported development of the Center-TRACON Automation System at the NASA Ames Research Center. She helped to determine how to assess the Final Approach Spacing Tool, an aid for terminal area ATC. She also helped to develop a training methodology for the Traffic Management Advisor, a tool that aids traffic managers. From 1994 through 1995, Bass developed a cognitive model for a simplified ATC task within the constraints of the SOAR architecture at the University of Nottingham. She investigated how an intelligent agent can learn through external interaction when feedback about decisions made is not immediately available. She has also worked on an architecture for distributed simulation that integrates intelligent, agent-based, operator aids with models of entities in the airspace system. The problem used as a basis for the effort was a joint experiment to use specially equipped helicopters in a partial free flight environment to move cargo between eleven sites around metropolitan Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. The focus of the simulation was to provide the cargo delivery operations personnel the ability to evaluate route plans and to support contingency planning.
<br/><br/>From 1995 to 2001, Bass was a research engineer at Search Technology. On her final project at Search, Bass was the Principal Investigator (PI) on a NASA sponsored project to investigate automated real-time icing detection, measurement, and reporting methods. Bass was also the PI on a Phase II NASA SBIR: Turbulence Assessment and Monitoring System (TAMS), a system to improve communication about areas of clear air turbulence. As PI, she, with the help of her colleagues, developed and evaluated a TAMS prototype and analyzed the business case to assess TAMS’s commercial viability. The TAMS team completed a comprehensive pilot-in-the-loop evaluation in a full motion training simulator with four TAMS treatments and the current baseline condition.Bass was the PI on a USAF project that applied knowledge-based technology to aviation simulator training and was the human factors engineer on another USAF project developing a real-time pilot aid with similar technology. She was the artificial intelligence applications consultant on the In-flight Advisor Project at the University of Alabama Flight Dynamics Laboratory. Bass was a human factors consultant to Honeywell in the evaluation of Flight Path Management User Interface concept prototypes for the proposed High-Speed Civil Transport.
<br/><br/>Bass's professional interests include cognitive modeling, cognitive systems engineering, dynamic decision making, human-automation interaction, human factors, intelligent decision support systems, intelligent learning environments. Bass is a private pilot.

Selected Publications