The International Distributed Little Red Hen Lab™ is a global big data science laboratory and cooperative for research into multimodal communication. 


Visit Red Hen's YouTube Channel


Tools developed or deployed by Red Hen—theoretical, computational, technical, statistical—are meant to help advance research in any study of multimodal communication, including any area in which there are records of human communication: speech in any language, infant vocalization, Ancient Near Eastern writing systems, Classical Archaeology, text of any kind, notation systems, audio recordings (radio, interviews, . . .), audiovisual records, architecture, signage, gesture, pose, Greek vase painting, Roman sculpture, representations of co-speech gesture in Medieval paintings, and of course, but not foundationally, modern digital media.  Red Hen focuses on basic mental operations of cognition, affect, creativity, and communication that appear to have been common across our species for at least the last fifty thousand years, and which have been recruited to great effect by various forms of media. Red Hen finds non-human animal communication interesting, too. Records and methods related to non-human communication or communication between species (e.g., border collies responding to pointing gestures) accordingly fascinate Red Hen.

Red Hen is directed jointly by Francis Steen and Mark Turner. See Red Hen's twitter feed and Crowing Rooster's News & Announcements, or our github account. Red Hen's cross-disciplinary research projects have been funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, by a Cyberenabled Discovery and Innovation program of the US National Science Foundation CNS 1028381 and 1027965 (2010-2016, PIs Zhu, Groeling, Steen, & Zhai), by an Anneliese Maier Research Prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation awarded to Turner (2016-2020), by the Research Council of Norway, by Google Summer of Code four years in a row (see the reports for 2015, 2016, and 2017), and by many other funders. For particulars, see Red Hen awards.

CWRU high-performance computing logo

Brief introduction to Red Hen Lab, at the National Academies of Science:


See the recorded talks for the past several International Conferences on Multimodal Communication:



For a contemporary version and extension of the folktale, see The Little Red Fort, by Brenda Maier (Author), Sonia Sánchez (Illustrator). Scholastic Press; Illustrated edition (March 27, 2018).

She said, "I'll do it myself."  And she did.


The Distributed Little Red Hen Lab™, also known as "Red Hen Lab™" or "Red Hen," utilizes high-performance computing clusters and sophisticated videoconferencing capacities provided by Case Western Reserve University. We are grateful to Information Technology Services at Case Western Reserve University for providing these resources.  Principal nodes of the research network include

Red Hen conducts transdisciplinary research in multimodal communications, linguistics, computational linguistics, cognitive science, neuroscience, education, statistics, media effects studies, political communication, and library science.

Red Hen builds tools across a range of tasks, including automated data acquisition, distributed data storage, data enhancement, joint text, sound, and vision parsing, statistical analysis, multimodal search engines, user interfaces, presentation tools, publishing platforms, and pedagogical applications. We develop open-source software at RedHenLab on Github.