Matrix seeks to advance critical understanding and promote access to knowledge through world-class research in humanities technology. Humanities technology brings together the humanist's quest for deeper understanding of human thought, expression, and behavior with the tools, methods and applications of computer science, engineering, and information and library sciences. Matrix researchers use networked technologies to advance, mediate, and inform the humanist disciplines of history, literature, language, philosophy, as well as disciplines within the arts, social sciences, and education. At MSU, Matrix partners in music, speech and audiology, history, education, international studies, museum studies, and libraries are building new, global, networked resources and services that give life to the metaphor of "matrix" as the multiple intersections and applications of interdisciplinary research.

Humanities Technology emerged in the 1960s as an interdisciplinary effort by humanists and social scientists to harness the power of the computer for their studies. The early pioneers used computers for textual and quantitative analysis, to provide new insights and new ways to teach. The advent of the Internet and the digital revolution of the last decade, however, allowed humanities technology to come into its own. In a world where information can be reduced into bits and bytes and communicated instantaneously, humanities technology has rapidly emerged as a necessary and fundamentally interdisciplinary method of archiving and interpreting human activity and the human record. Humanities technology can, for the first time in world history, securely preserve and provide broad democratic access to the documents, images, languages, sound, and film that constitute the human record and facilitate its understanding.

Humanities technology centers like Matrix -- which incorporate research, analysis, and implementation of such computing technology -- overcome disciplinary boundaries and bring together the humanities, arts, social sciences, communication, and education fields with computer science, engineering, information and library sciences, and museum studies.