Lung cancer is associated with the highest cancer mortality rates among men and women in the United States. The accurate and precise identification of the lymph node stations on computed tomography (CT) images is important for staging disease and potentially for prognosticating outcome in patients with lung cancer, as well as for pretreatment planning and response assessment purposes. To facilitate a standard means of referring to lymph nodes, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) has recently proposed a definition of the different lymph node stations and zones in the thorax. However, nodal station identification is typically performed manually by visual assessment in clinical radiology. This approach leaves room for error due to the subjective and potentially ambiguous nature of visual interpretation, and is labor intensive. We present a method of automatically recognizing the mediastinal IASLC-defined lymph node stations by modifying a hierarchical fuzzy modeling approach previously developed for body-wide automatic anatomy recognition (AAR) in medical imagery. Our AAR-lymph node (AAR-LN) system follows the AAR methodology and consists of two steps. In the first step, the various lymph node stations are manually delineated on a set of CT images following the IASLC definitions. These delineations are then used to build a fuzzy hierarchical model of the nodal stations which are considered as 3D objects. In the second step, the stations are automatically located on any given CT image of the thorax by using the hierarchical fuzzy model and object recognition algorithms. Based on 23 data sets used for model building, 22 independent data sets for testing, and 10 lymph node stations, a mean localization accuracy of within 1-6 voxels has been achieved by the AAR-LN system.