Dr. John Thomas
Executive Director, Partnership for Systems Approaches to Safety and Security Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
The Pop in your Job: What drives you / what is your passion?
Fascinated by flaws in engineered systems, how they originate, and how they can be overlooked. Driven by the challenge of preventing engineering mistakes and catching flaws earlier than we do today.
Dr. John Thomas is the Executive Director of the Partnership for Systems Approaches to Safety and Security at MIT. Prior to MIT, he worked in industry doing software development, system engineering, and safety and security analysis.
Dr. John Thomas studies engineering mistakes and human error and develops systematic methods to prevent them. His primary research is focused on STPA and related methods for proactive safety, security, and human factors engineering. He also studies accident analysis and has developed techniques to prevent superficial analysis and identify deeper systemic factors behind modern accidents. His background over last 20 years includes work in automotive advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), aircraft automation, autonomous vehicles (land, air, and space), medical devices, nuclear power plants, oil & gas, etc. He is also interested in regulation and policy in the context of safety and security, including requirements for certification, licensing, reporting, testing, and safety assessment. He serves on industry standards committees including SAE WG8 (the US delegation for ISO 26262 and SOTIF) and the SAE Automotive Functional Safety Committee.