Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

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IHMC logo

The IHMC's main headquarters
The IHMC's main headquarters

Established 1990
Location 40 South Alcaniz Street
(Old Pensacola Police Station)
Director Ken Ford
Board officers Carol Carlan
Dick Baker
K. C. Clark
Eugene Franklin
Charles C. "Chris" Hart
Terry L. Hickey
Hal Hudson
Beverly Seay
Larry F. Lemanski
Eric Nickelsen
Jim Reeves
Ray Russenberger
Hal White
Key people Tim Wright, deputy director
Budget $22 million

The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Inc. (IHMC) is a not-for-profit research institute affiliated with the Florida university system. It is headquartered at 40 South Alcaniz Street and other downtown buildings with plans for major expansion in both Pensacola and Ocala, Florida.

History & expansion[edit]

IHMC was founded in 1990, under the leadership of computer science and philosophy professor Ken Ford, by the Florida Board of Regents as a research department of UWF. Ford and Alberto Canas, a former Tulane professor and IBM official who served as education advisor to the president of Costa Rica, initially struggled with the institute and its $300,000 budget. Two early contracts involved creating a computer network to connect K-12 schools in ten Latin American countries and developing software to teach West Florida Regional Medical Center physicians how to better diagnose heart disease.

Retired Navy Vice Admiral Tim Wright joined the institute in the summer of 1996, after which IHMC received a number of jobs for federal organizations including NASA, the U.S. Navy, and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.[1]

In 1999, IHMC moved to its current headquarters in the old Pensacola Police Station on Alcaniz Street, south of St. Michael's Cemetery. The UWF Foundation purchased the property from owner R. K. "Skip" Hunter for $2.25 million and spent more than $1 million more in renovations to enable IHMC to work side-by-side with a private company, San Diego-based Visicom Laboratories, which had been leasing space temporarily at the Rhodes Building. State law prohibited such a public-private venture from taking place on the university's main campus.[2]

However, before a lease was signed, Visicom was bought out by Titan Corp., which demurred on leasing the space from UWF. The university also risked losing millions in earnings by moving the institute off campus, leading to criticism of UWF president Morris Marx's quest to obtain the building.[3]

It was restructured as a public research institute and incorporated as a Florida non-profit on February 25, 2004.[4]


  1. "Higher profile for high-tech work at UWF could bring big business." Pensacola News Journal, June 6, 1999.
  2. "UWF's downtown move costs a bundle." Pensacola News Journal, March 7, 1999.
  3. "Troubles plague high-tech site's new home." Pensacola News Journal, June 11, 1999.
  4. SunBiz entry