Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

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The Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) is a not-for-profit research institute headquartered in Pensacola, Florida with scientists and engineers investigating topics related to understanding cognition in both humans and machines. It was founded in 1990. Projects include robots, unified control panel displays for aviation, artificial intelligence, computer security, language cognition for computers, and powered exoskeletens. Mark Howard called it "one of the state's most underpublicized tech jewels" in the October 2013 issue of Florida Trend magazine.[1]


IHMC was founded by Kenneth M. Ford and Alberto Cañas on the University of West Florida Campus in 1990 - growing out of the computer science and psychology departments.[2]

In 2004, IHMC became an independent statewide research institute. Currently, IHMC is affiliated with Florida Atlantic University, Florida Institute of Technology, the University of Central Florida, and the University of West Florida.

In 2007, IHMC was awarded the EDA's Excellence in Economic Development Award for its impact on downtown Pensacola.

In January 2010, IHMC opened a new research facility in downtown Ocala, Florida.

In 2013, a team from IMHC competed in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency competition for a robot responder to a simulated nuclear reactor meltdown, placing 2nd in the trials.[1]

Current research[edit]

Research at IHMC focuses on human-centered computing, artificial intelligence and biologically-inspired systems. The underlying mission is the creation of useful technological systems to leverage and extend human cognitive, physical, and perceptual capacities. Current active research areas include: knowledge modeling and sharing, adjustable autonomy, robotics, advanced interfaces and displays, communication and collaboration, computer-mediated learning systems, intelligent data understanding, software agents, biologically inspired network security, expertise studies, work practice simulation, knowledge representation, and other related areas.

Research is based on the idea of leveraging and extending humans through computers and computer programs. Shifting the goal from making artificial superhumans who can replace us to making superhumanly intelligent artifacts or cyber prostheses that can amplify and support cognitive abilities.[3]

Scientific & Technical (S&T) staff[edit]

Currently there are over 80 researchers, many of whom are leading figures in their research fields as the hiring focus is upon those who can attract their own funding to the institution.[4]


Originally housed on the UWF campus, IHMC relocated to downtown Pensacola in 1999. IHMC currently is located in three buildings in Pensacola. Additionally, IHMC renovated the old Ocala Library in downtown Ocala, FL to house IHMC's new central Florida location.[5]


IHMC sponsors a number of outreach efforts in the local community. These include a public Evening Lecture Series in both Pensacola and Ocala which has hosted many notable speakers. IHMC also supports local education through programs such as IHMC's Science Saturdays, I LOVE Science, and Voluntology.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Howard, Mark R. (October 16, 2013). "Tech Jewel: Robots Invade Miami". Florida Trend. 
  2. ^ "Alberto J. Cañas". Biography. IHMC. 
  3. ^ Hamilton, Scott (January 2001). "Thinking Outside the Box at the IHMC". Computer (Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press) 34 (1): 61–71. doi:10.1109/2.895119. ISSN 0018-9162. CiteSeerX: 
  4. ^ "Researchers". IHMC. 
  5. ^ Barnett, Cynthia (May 1, 2008). "Human, Machine Research Institute Joins Ocala's Downtown". Florida Trend. 

External links[edit]