The IHMC Story


IHMC is a not-for-profit research institute of the Florida University System and is affiliated with several Florida universities. Created at the University of West Florida, IHMC has a main campus in historic downtown Pensacola opened in 1999 as part of the city’s urban core revitalization, and a branch campus in Ocala, opened in 2010. The Ocala campus is located near three major university research partners in Florida’s centrally located tech corridor.  

The Pensacola campus is the primary home to teams investigating and refining artificial intelligence, augmentics, human-centered computing; robotics and exoskeletons; and health, resilience, and performance to maximize biological performance of humans in high-stress, extreme environments and disciplines. In 2022, IHMC announced plans for construction of a $30 million research complex in Pensacola to support and accelerate the healthspan, resilience, and performance work. The Ocala campus, including a 28,000 square foot facility, support computer scientists, engineers, and linguists engaged in research spanning machine learning, natural language understanding, natural language understanding for social cybersecurity, and speech analysis for physiological state determination. 

Researchers at IHMC pioneer technologies aimed at leveraging and extending human capabilities. Our human-centered approach often results in systems that can be regarded as cognitive, physical, or perceptual orthoses, much as eyeglasses are a kind of ocular orthoses. These systems fit the human and machine components together in ways that exploit their respective strengths and mitigate their respective weaknesses. The design and fit of technological orthoses and prostheses requires a broader interdisciplinary range than is typically found in one organization, thus IHMC staff includes computer scientists, cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists, linguists, physicians, philosophers, engineers and social scientists of various stripes, as well as some people who resist all attempts to classify them. 

Our research fall into three broad categories: Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence; Robotics and Exoskeletons; and Healthspan, Resilience, and Performance. Given the interdisciplinary nature of our work, the opportunity for collaboration and crossover makes IHMC a unique space for researchers who can work in teams across disciplines.  

Our active research projects include queries into: interventions to optimize human health and performance biologically; resilience, performance, and recovery among elite warfighters; artificial intelligence; cognitive science; human-machine teaming; knowledge modeling and sharing; humanoid robotics; exoskeletons; advanced interfaces and human-centered displays; cybersecurity; communication and collaboration; natural language processing; computer-mediated learning systems; intelligent data understanding; software agents; expertise studies; trust, intentions, and belief; work practice simulation; knowledge representation; distributed computing; big data and machine learning; data science; as well as other related areas. 

IHMC faculty and staff collaborate extensively with industry and government to develop science and technology that can be enabling with respect to society’s broader goals. IHMC researchers receive funding from a wide range of government and private sources. IHMC research partners have included: DARPA, NSF, NASA, Army, Navy, Air Force, NIH, IARPA, DOT, IDEO, Raytheon, IBM, Microsoft, Rockwell Collins, Boeing, Lockheed, and SAIC, among others.