ChE Seminar: Dr. Rajagopalan Srinivasan

Author: Joshua Gonzalez
Event Date: April 25, 2024
Speaker: Dr. Rajagopalan Srinivasan
Speaker Affiliation: Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Time: 3:00-4:15 p.m.
Location: FRNY G140
Contact Name: Joshua Gonzalez
Contact Phone: 765-494-4365
Contact Email:
Open To: Attendance required for ChE PhD students
Priority: No
School or Program: Chemical Engineering
College Calendar: Show
Graduate Seminar Series
Dr. Rajagopalan Srinivasan
Professor of Chemical Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering,
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Host:  Dr. Gintaras Reklaitis


Dr. Rajagopalan Srinivasan is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Head of the American Express Lab for Data Analytics, Risk & Technology (DART Lab) at IIT Madras. Raj received his B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and PhD from Purdue University. He was a researcher at Honeywell Technology Center, Minneapolis, before joining the National University of Singapore as a faculty. In 2013, he moved to IIT Gandhinagar, where he established the Center for Safety Engineering.
Safety and sustainability are the key themes of Raj’s research program, which is targeted towards developing systems engineering approaches for the design and resilient operation of complex systems. He is a consultant to over 20 well-known companies such as ABB, ExxonMobil, Honeywell, and Shell. His research has been recognized by Best Paper Awards from several journals & conferences. He is an Associate Editor of several journals including Process Safety and Environmental Protection, Frontiers in Energy Research, and PLOS One.

"Engineering Human Performance in the Workplace: Cognitive Approaches for Measuring, Modelling, Monitoring & Shaping Operators' Behaviour"


Oil & gas platforms, petroleum refineries and petrochemical plants are large socio-technical systems, i.e., people have to interact with complex technology in order to ensure safe and productive operation.  Traditionally, engineers have focused predominantly on the technical parts and assumed that people (operators) can be trained to adjust to the idiosyncrasies of the technology. This is sometimes stated as ‘manning the machine requires machining the man’. There is now growing realization that this assumption of the compliant human is not tenable in the context of modern-day systems. For instance, 80 percent of accidents in any complex system today, be it commercial aviation, the nuclear power industry, the chemical industry, or shipping originates from human error.
Lord Kelvin said “When you can measure what you are speaking about .. you know something about it”. However, even in this era of big data where large volumes of measurements are regularly collected from the technical system, very little is measured related to the human operator and their cognitive state while operating the plant. This absence of measurements prevents a scientific evaluation of the contribution of operators to the overall system performance.
In this talk, we will discuss the need for a science-based approach to study the operational behaviors of personnel. Next, using the control room operator as an example, we will identify various technologies such as eye tracking and electroencephalography that can offer insights into the operators’ cognitive state and their decision-making processes. Finally, we will explore the various ways by which such studies could help enhance the operator’s performance – including context-aware interfaces, decision-support systems, and training protocols.