Queueing Network-Model Human Processor (QN-MHP): A computational architecture for multitask performance in human-machine systems

Yili Liu, Robert Feyen, Omer Tsimhoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Queueing Network-Model Human Processor (QN-MHP) is a computational architecture that integrates two complementary approaches to cognitive modeling: the queueing network approach and the symbolic approach (exemplified by the MHP/GOMS family of models, ACT-R, EPIC, and SOAR). Queueing networks are particularly suited for modeling parallel activities and complex structures. Symbolic models have particular strength in generating a person's actions in specific task situations. By integrating the two approaches, QN-MHP offers an architecture for mathematical modeling and real-time generation of concurrent activities in a truly concurrent manner. QN-MHP expands the three discrete serial stages of MHP, of perceptual, cognitive, and motor processing, into three continuous-transmission subnetworks of servers, each performing distinct psychological functions specified with a GOMS-style language. Multitask performance emerges as the behavior of multiple streams of information flowing through a network, with no need to devise complex, task-specific procedures to either interleave production rules into a serial program (ACTR), or for an executive process to interactively control task processes (EPIC). Using QN-MHP, a driver performance model was created and interfaced with a driving simulator to perform a vehicle steering, and a map reading task concurrently and in real time. The performance data of the model are similar to human subjects performing the same tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-70
Number of pages34
JournalACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 24 2006


  • Cognition
  • Cognitive model
  • Human information processing
  • Human-computer interaction
  • User interfaces


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