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Raw data can be filtered, aggregated, transformed, fused, visualized, and correlated, yet data by itself is of no practical value. For data to be of value it must first be interpreted. Interpretation/analysis is a necessary but insufficient condition for conveying information. The interpretation must impact the behavior of the end user for the data to be truly useful, hence the term actionable intelligence. This forms the underlying basis of all information processing systems: utilize data collected from a variety of sources to piece together a view of the world that enables an end user to make enlightened decisions with respect to this environment. Information processing (IP) systems take various forms, many of which combine technology from several scientific fields. Within the past four decades we have seen IP systems incorporate many technological advances including Bayesian Networks, multihypothesis data fusion, expert systems, artificial neural networks (ANNs), fuzzy systems, and evolutionary algorithms. The ocean sciences have benefited significantly from these technologies as they have provided new solutions to difficult and previously (computationally) intractable problems. This paper highlights some of the major advances in information processing and data fusion efforts in oceans technology over the past four decades, and presents some predictions about future developments in this dynamically changing arena.