David Mendonça

Email: mendod@rpi.edu
Phone: (518) 276-4222
Fax: (518) 276-8227
Postal Address:
    Industrial and Systems Engineering
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    CII 5111
    110 8th St.
    Troy, NY 12180
Brief Bio
I am a Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I hold a Ph.D. in Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an M.S. from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. from University of Massachusetts/Amherst. I have been a visiting scholar at University of Lisbon (Portugal) and at Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands). I served for a two-year period (2015-2017) as the Program Director for the Humans, Disasters and the Built Environment program in the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation in the National Science Foundation's Engineering Directorate.

Curriculum vitae (as of August 2020). Links to selected recent papers are below. For older work, check out my pages on Google Scholar or Research Gate. Alternatively, email me for further information: mendod@rpi.edu.

Research Overview
My work develops and applies systems engineering methods in order to understand and extend human decision making processes in high-stakes, time-constrained conditions. This has resulted in three inter-related programs of research: foundational descriptive research on cognitive work in human/machine systems; computational and statistical modeling of cognitive, behavioral and mechanistic processes in these systems; and development of interactive computer systems to support integrated human/machine decision making.

Ph.D. Student Opportunities
I am looking for Ph.D. students for the following ongoing projects:

Team learning and performance in sports and e-sports (with Wayne Gray, RPI Cognitive Science Department). We are working with large-scale data from the online game League of Legends in order to understand the relationship between team composition, improvisation and adaptation. We are also looking at extending our techniques to "real" sports like hockey and soccer (football).

For background, see the following papers:
Eaton, J. and D. Mendonça (2019). "Linking Adaptation Processes to Team Performance in High-tempo, High-stakes Teamwork: A Large-scale Gaming Perspective." Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science. 20(6) 659-681.

Eaton, J., D. Mendonça, W. Gray (2018). "Attack, Damage and Carry: Role Familiarity and Team Performance in League of Legends." Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2018 International Annual Meeting.

Eaton, J., M. Renaud, M. Sangster, D. Mendonça, W. Gray (2017). "Carrying the Team: The Importance of One Player's Survival for Team Success in League of Legends." Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2017 Annual Meeting.

Sangster, M-D. D., D. Mendonça and W.D. Gray (2016). "Big Data Meets Team Expertise in a Dynamic Task Environment." In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner and J. Trueswell (eds.), Proceedings of the 60th Annual Conference of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society, 19-23 September, Washington, DC.

Community Adaptation to Disaster: The Case of the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. This project is expanding our notion of community resilience through the lens of analysis of historical data associated with this event (the largest earthquake in the European historical record). For this project, you must be fluent in Portuguese. The project is in collaboration with Ines Amorim of Univ. Porto and has been supported by NSF Grant IIA-1322548. You need to speak Portuguese or Spanish fluently in order to work on this project.

For background, see the following paper:
Mendonça, D., I. Amorim and M. Karohara (2019). "Historical Perspectives on Community Resilience: The Case of the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake." International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 34 (March) 363-374.

Ph.D. Student Qualifications
Most of my work happens within either computational or statistical frameworks, though I also employ qualitative methods in early-stage research. Prior background in statistics or applied math, cognitive science/cognitive engineering or computer science is therefore highly desirable.

Past Projects with Selected Publications
Linking Team Fluidity to Organizational Performance in Team-Centric Organizations
(NSF Grant CMMI-1363513, M. Grabowski Co-PI). The central goal of this research is to extend and test theories that link team-level phenomena to organizational outcomes, using as data records of the removal of debris following a large-scale tornado storm in the State of Alabama in 2011. James Brooks and Xin Zhang both completed doctoral dissertations on this project. A brief explanatory video is here.

Brooks, J., D. Mendonça and X. Zhang (in press). "Efficacy of Incentive Structures for Boundedly-rational Schedulers in Large-scale Queueing Networks." IEEE Transactions in Human-Machine Systems. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8688482.

Brooks, J., K. Kar and D. Mendonça (2016). "Allocation of Flows in Closed Bipartite Queueing Networks." European Journal of Operational Research 255(2) 333-344.

Mendonça, D. J.D. Brooks (2014). "Linking Team Composition to Team Performance: An Application to Post-Disaster Debris Removal Operations," IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems 44(3) 315-325.

Network Improvisation in Post-disaster Debris Removal Operations
(NSF Grant CMMI 1313589). This work (with James Brooks and Xin Zhang) investigated the relationship between improvisation and performance for the post-Sandy debris removal mission in New York State.

Zhang, X., D. Mendonça, M. Grabowski and C. Holmes (2017). "Improvising Organizational Structure and Process: The Case of Post-disaster Debris Removal Operations." Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2017 Annual Meeting.

Improvisation in Response to Extreme Events
This work examines team decision processes in highly non-routine situations, based mainly on observational studies with emergency response personnel. Supported in part by NSF CAREER Grant CMS-0449582.

Osatuyi, B. and D. Mendonça (2013). "Temporal Modeling of Group Information Foraging: An Application to Emergency Response." Information Processing and Management 49(1) 169-178.

Mendonça, D., P. Chang, Y. Hu and Q. Gu (2012), "Simulation, Shared Spaces and Information Management to Support Discovery and Learning: An Application in Emergency Management." Computer Applications in Engineering Education 20(12) 232-238. (Impact Factor: 1.435)

Mendonça, D. and W.A. Wallace (2007). "A Cognitive Model of Improvisation in Emergency Management." IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics: Part A: Systems and Humans 37(4) 547 - 561.

Mendonça, D. (2007). "Decision Support for Improvisation in Response to Extreme Events." Decision Support Systems 43(3) 952-967.

Infrastructure Resilience
Mendonça, D. and W.A. Wallace (2015). "Factors Underlying Organizational Resilience: The Case of Electric Power Restoration in New York City after 11 September 2001." Reliability Engineering & System Safety. 141 (September) 83-91.

Mendonça, D. and W.A. Wallace (2006). "Impacts of the 2001 World Trade Center Attack on New York City Critical Infrastructures." Journal of Infrastructure Systems 12(4) 260-270.

Synthetic Environments for Examing Organizational Resilience.
This work employs advanced information technologies for observing and supporting teams undertaking post-disaster infrastructure restoration in a simulated setting. This is in collaboration with Barb Cutler (RPI CS Dept.) and Al Wallace (RPI ISE Dept.), with the cooperation of RPI's EMPAC facility and support from RPI.

Mendonça, D., W.A. Wallace and B. Cutler and J. Brooks (2015). "Synthetic Environments for Investigating Collaborative Information Seeking: An Application in Emergency Restoration of Critical Infrastructures." Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 12(3) 763-784

Mendonça, D., G. Webb, C. Butts and J.D. Brooks (2014). "Cognitive Correlates of Improvised Behavior in Disaster Response: The Cases of the Murrah Building and the World Trade Center," Journal of Crisis and Contingency Management 22(4) 185-195.

Current Ph.D. Students
Josef DiPietrantonio, RPI (ISE)
Daniel Gonzalez, RPI

Prior Ph.D. Students, with year degree awarded
Joshua Eaton, RPI (2020)
Xin Zhang, RPI (2019)
Matthew-David Sangster, RPI (co-advised with Wayne Gray) (2019)
James Brooks, RPI (2014)
Rostyslav Korolov, RPI (2018) (co-advised with Al Wallace)
Bruna Diir, UFRJ (2016)
Madhavi Chakrabarty, NJIT (2009)
Peishih Chang, NJIT (2007)
John LaContora, NJIT (2005) (co-advised with Fado Deek)

Undergraduate Researchers:
2017-2018: Hanley Carter
2015-2017: On leave
2014-2015: Christian Pedroso, Courtney Lang, Sonia Kumar, Victor Muniz
2013-2014: Jason Chang, Kathleen DiMilia, Ron Nipay, Cintia Martins de Oliveira Reis, Daniel Souza
2012-2013: Gabriele Cruz, Maira Kagohara, Olivia Von Nieda, Jon Sevilla
2011-2013: Jane Braun, Zal Mirza (SUNY), Christian Pedrosa

Human Performance Modeling and Support: Applications in Competitive Sports (ISYE-4961)
This course introduces methods, tools and technologies for describing human performance via various types of models, and supporting this performance via tools and advanced technologies. The course is hands-on, involving student projects that investigate human performance in challenging domains (e.g., competitive sports), as well as direct engagement with technology. A short promo on the course is here.

I also teach courses in database systems and applied statistics.

If you made it this far, maybe it's time to listen to some fado by the great Fernanda Maria or, for something more contemporary, by Maria Emilia.

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