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Center for Network-Centric Cognition and Information Fusion

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The future of information brings us sensor and data-fusion technology. The Center for Network-Centric Cognition and Information Fusion (NC2IF) explores the information chain from energy detection via sensors and human observation to physical modeling, signal and image processing, pattern recognition, knowledge creation, information infrastructure, and human decision-making—all in the context of organizations and the nation.

The work of our researchers focuses on the gap between the collection of reports and data in computer systems and the knowledge and decisions in the minds of computer users. Our research, sponsors, labs, and facilities place us at the forefront of data-fusion research.

Please join us as we lead the next wave of innovation for intelligent machines, strategic planning, crisis management, and cognitive modeling.

David Hall

We have all this incredible amount of information, but we don’t have knowledge. What we’re trying to do is focus on the problem of transforming energy—sensor and other information—into knowledge.

Dr. David Hall, Founding Director of NC2IF

Our research teams are comprised of individuals with diverse research perspectives that bridge historically partitioned research areas. We leverage new media technologies to transform information into actionable knowledge for decision making. Our research interests focus on large-scale problems that provide opportunities for collaboration.


To conduct research and demonstrate how information technology can span the gap from energy detection (via sensors and human reports) to knowledge creation.


Led by the College of Information Sciences and Technology, we will provide knowledge transfer to industry and academia.


To conduct and encourage interdisciplinary research in which humans and computing systems collaborate for improved situational awareness and distributed cognition.


NC2IF was chartered as a Penn State research center in 2008.

Extreme Events Laboratory

Extreme Events Laboratory Designed primarily to support research and experimentation in the areas of hard and soft data fusion, visualization, and sonification; the Extreme Events Laboratory (EEL) features 4 large wall-mounted HD LCD displays, 2D and true stereoscopic 3D projectors, a stereoscopic 3D Head-Mounted Display (HMD), haptic input devices, motion and acoustic sensors, various video and still cameras, several MacPro workstations, a conference area with a 54" HD LCD TV, and 8 professional-quality loudspeakers for experimentation with immersive 3D sonification.

This facility is intended to allow our researchers to run end-to-end experiments that improve situational awareness and enhance our ability to optimally leverage all available sensors, human observers, and technology in order to escape "information overload" and extract the true meaning hidden within the vast mountains of available data.

Additionally, the EEL is dedicated to new technology and collaboration with nontraditional IST disciplines where students, visitors, and passersby can explore these technologies and see the progress of current projects. Current technologies include 3D printing (rapid prototyping), haptic devices, 3D scanning, and gaming consoles. Initial projects include collaborations with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and PSU's Department of Anthropology.

Red Cell Analytics Lab

The Red Cell Analytics (RCA) Lab was added to the NC2IF in the Spring 2012 semester. The RCA Lab was established to promote the study of security and risk through the research and practice of red cell methodologies and structured analytic techniques.

The RCA Lab utilizes the same suite of analytic tools described above to explore and develop red-cell tactics, techniques and procedures. Membership to the RCA Lab is open to IST and SRA students in good standing and to other academic units across Penn State and the Big Ten. RCA Lab members have conducted red cell analysis for various agencies including the Penn State Police Department, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics and the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. Several agencies have offered support to current and future RCAL research including the Potomac Foundation, Office of the Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OSDI), Penn State Office of Emergency Management, Ernst and Young, Deloitte, and Pennsylvania Power and Light.

Conference Publications

Rimland and J. Llinas (2012), "Network and Infrastructure Considerations for Hard and Soft Information Fusion Processes", Proceedings of FUSION, 2012.

Rimland, Hall, & Graham (2012). Human cognitive and perceptual factors in JDL level 4 hard/soft data fusion. Proceedings of SPIE 2012, Baltimore, MD.

Rimland, Coughlin, Hall, & Graham (2012). Advances in data representation for hard/soft information fusion. Proceedings of SPIE 2012, Baltimore, MD.

Rimland, & Hall. (2011). A multi-agent infrastructure for hard and soft information fusion . In SPIE proceedings. Fl, USA.

Rimland, Graham, Iyer, Agumamidi, & Venkata. (2011). JDL level 0 and 1 algorithms for processing and fusion of hard sensor data. In SPIE proceedings. Fl, USA.

Graham, Hall, & Rimland. (2011). A new synthetic dataset for evaluating soft and hard fusion algorithms . In SPIE proceedings. Fl, USA.

Tutwiler, Griffin, Rimland, & Hall. (2011). Hard sensor fusion for COIN inspired situation awareness. In Proceedings of the 14th international conference on information fusion. Chicago, IL.

Graham, Rimland, & Hall. (2011). SYNCOIN: A synthetic data set for evaluation of hard and soft fusion systems. In Proceedings of the 14th international conference on information fusion. Chicago, IL.

Hall, Graham, More, & Rimland. (2010). Test and evaluation of soft/hard information fusion systems: A test environment, methodology and initial data sets. In Proceedings of the 13th international conference on information fusion. Edinburgh, UK.

Whitepapers and Technical Reports

Hall, Graham, & Rimland (2011). An Overview of Opportunities, Trends and Models for Information Fusion. Technical report prepared for Director of Advanced Technical Office and SI CTO.

Books Published

Hall, D. L., & Jordan, J. M. (2010). Human-Centered information fusion. Boston: Artech House.

 Continuing Professional Education and Training ProgramsThe Center for Network Centric Cognition & Information Fusion (NC2IF) has some unique expertise to enable it to develop and deliver customized continuing professional programs using a variety of approaches.  In a training/education environment, the programs are designed to develop critical thinking skills, enhance decision-making, and improve risk management skills. The Center also is capable of researching and providing reports related to current threats. Following is a brief summary of our capabilities:

Threat Assessments

Center faculty and staff are experienced in developing risk assessments for organizations.Working with the organization, we will identify threats and vulnerabilities as develop risk mitigation strategies. While counter-terrorism and homeland security related issues are content strengths, the pertinent topics including critical and strategic thinking, asset valuation, and risk management plan development are more important.

Data Fusion Workshop

3-day event designed to introduce an organization to the value and challenges of hard-soft data fusion. Workshop focuses on defining types of sensor data, the multiple levels of hard/soft information fusion, the processes for fusion, and the application to enhanced situational awareness.

Red team” – “blue team” exercises

NC2IF has the capability to conduct “red team – blue team” assessments. These initiatives focus on collaborating with the organization to implement an exercise focusing on potential or realized threats. It may have teams identify gaps in security processes, infrastructure, personnel, and communications while others seek to develop counter-strategies or use a single issue for analysis and solution development. Key outcomes are understanding the complex and dynamic threat environment, adaptability, teamwork, and development of skills in analyzing competing hypotheses.

Scenario development and implementation

Similar to the “red team-blue team” exercises, this process involves using pre-determined scenarios to teach skills related to intelligence collection and assessment including hard/soft data fusion to improve situational awareness, pattern recognition, improved situational awareness, and emergency response coordination.

Open Source research reports on threats, competitive intelligence, and needs assessments

Using open source material and students under the supervision of Center faculty, we are capable of producing threat analyses, needs assessments, and competitive intelligence reports on a contract basis.

Supporting Faculty


  • Wade Shumaker, Research Technologist