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Diagnostic magnetic resonance (MR) image quality is highly dependent on the position and orientation of the slice groups, due to the intrinsic high in-slice and low through-slice resolutions of MR imaging. Hence, the higher speed, accuracy, and reproducibility of automatic slice positioning , make it highly desirable over manual slice positioning. However, imaging artifacts, diseases, joint articulation, variations across ages and demographics as well as the extremely high performance requirements prevent state-of-the-art methods, such as volumetric registration, to be an off-the-shelf solution. In this paper, we address all these issues through an automatic slice positioning framework based on redundant and hierarchical learning. Our method has two hallmarks that are specifically designed to achieve high robustness and accuracy. 1) A redundant set of anatomy detectors are learned to provide local appearance cues. These detections are pruned and assembled according to a distributed anatomy model, which captures group-wise spatial configurations among anatomy primitives. This strategy brings about a high level of robustness and works even if a large portion of the target is distorted, missing, or occluded. 2) The detectors are learned and invoked in a hierarchical fashion, with each local detection scheduled and iterated according to its intrinsic invariance property. This iterative alignment process is shown to dramatically improve alignment accuracy. The proposed system is extensively validated on a large dataset including 744 clinical MR scans. Compared to state-of-the-art methods, our method exhibits superior performance in terms of robustness, accuracy, and reproducibility. The methodology is general and can be applied to other anatomies and other imaging modalities.