Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

The Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) is a not-for-profit research institute of the State University System of Florida, with locations in Pensacola and Ocala, Florida. IHMC scientists and engineers investigate a broad range of topics related to building technological systems aimed at amplifying and extending human cognitive, physical and perceptual capacities. These include artificial intelligence, robotics, human-centered computing, agile and distributed computing and many related areas.[1][2]


1990—IHMC is founded as a research institute by Dr. Kenneth M. Ford and Dr. Alberto Cañas on the campus of the University of West Florida, growing primarily out of the computer science and psychology departments.[3]

2004—The Florida Legislature, under the K-20 Education Code, establishes IHMC as an independent, statewide research institute.[4] IHMC maintains affiliations with several Florida universities.[5]

2007—IHMC is recognized by the U.S. Economic Development Administration for the institute's impact on downtown Pensacola.[6]

2008—IHMC director becomes chairman of the NASA Advisory Council.

2010—IHMC opens a new research facility in downtown Ocala in central Florida.[7]

2013—A team from IHMC competes in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge, placing first in the Virtual Robotics Challenge and second in the DRC Trials.[8][9][10]

2014—An IHMC robot sets a new land-speed record for legged robots.[11] Also that year, DARPA awards IHMC scientists a $3 million grant to research Big Mechanisms, using computers to analyze vast amounts of research and identify underlying mechanisms in complex systems.[12]

2015—IHMC's team of robotics scientists places second and is awarded $1 million in the final round of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. The competition pitted bipedal robots from 23 teams from around the world on a course that emulated a disaster area where humans could not safely go. The robots had to drive a car, open a door, turn a valve, throw a switch, cut a hole in a wall, walk over rubble and climb stairs.[13] Also this year, IHMC breaks ground on a 30,000-square-foot building in downtown Pensacola, with expanded laboratories, research areas and offices.[14] Also this year, IHMC senior research scientist Jerry Pratt is named to the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.[15]

Current researchEdit

IHMC’s human-centered research is focused on the development of technological systems designed to amplify human cognitive, physical, and perceptual abilities.[16][17]

Research areas include biologically-inspired robotics, including humanoids and exoskeletons;[18] human-centered interfaces and displays;[19] artificial intelligence;[20] adjustable autonomy; knowledge modeling and sharing; human-machine teamwork, collaboration and coordination; communication, information management and dissemination in challenging networked environments; software agents; expertise studies; computer and network security; natural language understanding; work-practice simulation; knowledge representation; agile and distributed computing;[21] trust in autonomy; and concept mapping.[22]

IHMC has received research funding from government and private-sector sources, including DARPA,link the National Science Foundation, NASA, Army, Navy, Air Force, National Institutes of Health, and other agencies, foundations and companies.[23]

Scientific and technical (S&T) staffEdit

IHMC is home to more than 100 researchers and technical staff, many of whom are leading figures in their research fields.[24] Six researchers associated with IHMC have been named fellows at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.[25] Four people affiliated with IHMC have been inducted as fellows into the National Academy of Inventors.[26]


IHMC has research facilities at both its Pensacola and Ocala locations.


IHMC sponsors a number of outreach efforts in the local community, including a public Evening Lecture Series in both Pensacola and Ocala. The series has hosted dozens of notable speakers and in 2011 was recognized by STEMflorida Inc., a not-for-profit group that promotes science, technology, engineering and math education. IHMC also supports local education through programs such as its Science Saturdays, I LOVE Science, and robotics open houses and summer camps.[27]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Manning up: IHMC Explores the Intersection of Man and Machine." January 2013. AUVSI Magazine.
  2. ^ Hamilton, Scott. "Thinking Outside the Box at the IHMC". Computer , January 2001. (Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press).
  3. ^ Kenneth M. Ford, et al. "Coordinating Behavior of Distributed Systems," AI Magazine, Summer 2010. Also: State University System of Florida, Board of Governors; online publication.
  4. ^ Florida Statute 1004.447.
  5. ^ State University System of Florida, Board of Governors. Online publication.
  6. ^ U.S. Economic Development Administration / U.S. Department of Commerce; online publication.
  7. ^ Barnett, Cynthia. "Human, Machine Research Institute Joins Ocala's Downtown". Florida Trend. Summer 2010.
  8. ^ Markoff, John (2013-12-22). "Japanese Team Dominates Competition to Create Generation of Rescue Robots". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  9. ^ Davis, Brett. "Robots Open Doors and Drive Cars and Chop Through Walls And..." Unmanned Systems Magazine, Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, September 2013. Also: "Robotics Challenge Teams to Compete for $2 Million Top Prize." AUVSI News. Mar 5, 2015.
  10. ^ "Team IHMC's Lessons Learned from the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials". Journal of Field Robotics. March 2015.
  11. ^ Ackerman, Evan. "This Is What DARPA's Robot Ostrich Will Look Like". IEEE Spectrum. Nov. 14, 2011. Also: "IHMC robot sets world speed record," IHMC website.
  12. ^ “Big Mechanisms Seeks the ‘Whys’ Hidden in Big Data.” DARPA website, Feb. 20, 2014. Also: Cohen, Paul R. “DARPA’s Big Mechanisms Program.” DARPA online publication.
  13. ^ Time Magazine, June 8, 2015. "The Iron Man Challenge." Also, The New York Times, June 6, 2015. Also, DARPA website theroboticschallenge.org Archived 2016-04-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "IHMC breaks ground on new 30,000-square-foot-building." Pensacola News Journal. (Feb. 9, 2015).
  15. ^ Florida Inventors Hall of Fame web page. http://www.floridainvents.org
  16. ^ "Manning up: IHMC Explores the Intersection of Man and Machine." AUVSI Magazine. January 2013.
  17. ^ You, Jia. "DARPA Sets Out to Automate Research". Science Magazine. January 2015.
  18. ^ "NASA and IHMC Develop Robotic Exoskeleton for Space and Possible Use on Earth". NASA News; online publication. Oct. 11, 2012. Also: "Development of the IHMC Mobility Assist Exoskeleton". IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May, 2009.
  19. ^ Hoffman, R., et al: "The Borg Hypothesis." Computer.org/Intelligent; IEEE Computer Society. September/October 2003.
  20. ^ Kenneth M. Ford, et al. "Coordinating Behavior of Distributed Systems," AI Magazine. Summer 2010. Also: Kenneth M. Ford, Patrick Hayes. "On Computational Wings. Rethinking the Goals of Artificial Intelligence." Scientific American Presents: Machine Intelligence, 1998.
  21. ^ Tortonesi, M., et al. "Multiple UAV Coordinate and Communications in Tactical Edge Networks," IEEE Communications Magazine, Vol 50, Issue 10. October 2012.
  22. ^ Robert R. Hoffman, et al. "A Method for Eliciting, Preserving, and Sharing the Knowledge of Forecasters." Weather Forecast. 2006.
  23. ^ Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. "Invited Talk: Human-Agent Teamwork in Cyber Defense". Multiagent System Technologies: 10th German Conference, October 2012.
  24. ^ Kenneth M. Ford, et al. "Coordinating Behavior of Distributed Systems." AI Magazine. Summer 2010. Also: "People / Scientific and Technical". IHMC web page.
  25. ^ Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. The Fellows List. http://www.aaai.org/Awards/fellows-current.php.
  26. ^ National Academy of Inventors. NAI Fellows List. http://www.academyofinventors.org.
  27. ^ National Robotics Week web site; 2015 Events; iRobot Corp. http://www.nationalroboticsweek.org/events.php Archived 2015-04-10 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading and viewingEdit

External linksEdit