This special issue is similar to our previous special issues (Kennedy et al. in Comput. Math. Organ. Theory 16(3):217–219, 2010; 17(3):225–228, 2011) in that it includes articles based on the award winning conference papers of the, here, 2011 BRiMS Annual Conference. These articles were reviewed by the editors, extended to journal article length, and then peer-reviewed and revised before being accepted. The articles include a new way to evaluate designs of interfaces for safety critical systems (Bolton in Comput. Math. Organ. Theory, 2012), an article that extends our understanding of how to model situation awareness (SA) in a cognitive architecture (Rodgers et al. in Comput. Math. Organ. Theory, 2012), an article that presents electroencephalography (EEG) data used to derive dynamic neurophysiologic models of engagement in teamwork (Stevens et al. in Comput. Math. Organ. Theory, 2012), and an article that demonstrates using machine learning to generate models and an example application of that tool (Best in Comput. Math. Organ. Theory, 2012). After presenting a brief summary of each paper we will see some recurrent themes of task analysis, team and individual models, spatial reasoning, usability issues, and particularly that they are models that interact with each other or systems.