Developing mathematical models of neurobehavioral performance for the "real world"

Dennis A. Dean, Adam Fletcher, Steven R. Hursh, Elizabeth B. Klerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Work-related operations requiring extended wake durations, night, or rotating shifts negatively affect worker neurobehavioral performance and health. These types of work schedules are required in many industries, including the military, transportation, and health care. These industries are increasingly using or considering the use of mathematical models of neurobehavioral performance as a means to predict the neurobehavioral deficits due to these operational demands, to develop interventions that decrease these deficits, and to provide additional information to augment existing decision-making processes. Recent advances in mathematical modeling have allowed its application to real-world problems. Developing application-specific expertise is necessary to successfully apply mathematical models, in part because development of new algorithms and methods linking the models to the applications may be required. During a symposium, "Modeling Human Neurobehavioral Performance II: Towards Operational Readiness," at the 2006 SIAM-SMB Conference on the Life Sciences, examples of the process of applying mathematical models, including model construction, model validation, or developing model-based interventions, were presented. The specific applications considered included refining a mathematical model of sleep/wake patterns of airline flight crew, validating a mathematical model using railroad operations data, and adapting a mathematical model to develop appropriate countermeasure recommendations based on known constraints. As mathematical models and their associated analytical methods continue to transition into operational settings, such additional development will be required. However, major progress has been made in using mathematical model outputs to inform those individuals making schedule decisions for their workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-258
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Rhythms
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Circadian
  • Fatigue
  • Mathematical models
  • Performance
  • Scheduling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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