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NSERC COmputing Hardware for Emerging Intelligent Sensing Applications (COHESA) Network


The NSERC COmputing Hardware for Emerging Intelligent Sensing Applications (COHESA) Network aims to advance the state-of-the-art in computing systems for Machine Learning based intelligent sensing applications (ISAs), that “learn” to “see”, “hear”, “read”, “write” and “interact” with the physical world in ways typically associated only with humans and high intelligence. NSERC COHESA aims to design next generation hardware and software building blocks that can be used to further ISA sophistication in an ecosystem of “smart”, end-user, mobile/embedded devices backed up with data center processing and storage capabilities.  NSERC COHESA brings together the cross-disciplinary efforts, the academia-industry interactions, the technology transfer mechanisms, and the highly-qualified personnel (HQP) training that will be essential to advance the ISA field and further strengthen Canada’s strong presence in key ISA core software/hardware technologies.

Network Structure

The COHESA Network is a partnership of 19 Canadian academic research groups across 7 Universities, 6 industry R&D groups and 3 supporting organizations with an emphasis on computing hardware design. COHESA’s ultimate goal is to create, strengthen and broaden active linkages among Canadian Academic Research Groups and Canadian computing industries and agencies in the ISA domain. Three themes underpin COHESA’s research program: Intelligent Sensing, Hardware, and System Software, each with multiple underlying efforts all converging on the challenges of a speech- and image- driven demonstration application.  NSERC COHESA’s administration is based at the University of Toronto and its management structure comprises of a board of directors, and a scientific program committee.

Research Objectives and Outcomes


  • developing programmable, yet specialized hardware, software and system technologies enabling critical advances in ISA sophistication;
  • advancing core ISA technologies centered around Machine Learning incorporating computational imaging, computer vision, and data processing and analysis techniques, and will;
  • demonstrate a complete software/hardware  prototype of a representative ISA;
  • release a complete set of ISA software and hardware building blocks lowering the barrier to entry, and thus fostering and accelerating the creation of a world-leading, Canadian-based ISA development and deployment ecosystem.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach, NSERC COHESA brings together experts in Machine Learning, Computational Imaging and Vision, Data Analytics and Management, System Software, Programming Languages and Compilers, Computer Architecture, Reconfigurable Hardware, and Circuit Design across academia and industry. Our thesis is that COHESA’s main goal can only be attained if we look at the whole system, from applications down to hardware holistically to support the needs of the target applications while taking into consideration the constraints and opportunities that exist at the hardware and system software levels.


Vladimiro Cirillo
Network Manager
Tel.: (416) 978-3881
Web Site: This link will take you to another Web site

Mailing Address
Vladimiro Cirillo
Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering
University of Toronto
10 King’s College Rd, SFB540
Toronto, ON, M5S 3G4

Contact us at 1-877-767-1767