Concordia University

Research centres


Pattern recognition and machine intelligence (PARMI) has been a very active field in the past 20 years, particularly in the application area. PARMI techniques have been used to recognize characters, time-varying signals, voice, satellite pictures, objects, fingerprints, and weather patterns, in many scientific, business, and military applications.

In 1988, Concordia University established the Centre for Pattern Recognition and Machine Intelligence (CENPARMI) on the recommendation of its Senate and with the approval of its Board of Governors. CENPARMI was officially established as an international research centre in September 1988. The Centre is an administrative entity in the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science which is becoming increasingly multi-disciplinary. The function "research, development and information exchange" has shown a growing and marked success that is reflected by the publication of a large number of books and papers, the training provided to many visitors and students, the importance of its research activities, its linkage with industry through collaborations and research contracts, as well as by funding from different agencies at both levels of governments.

Members of this centre have been very active in the field of PARMI for 20 years. Started from a small nucleus of 2-3 people working in the areas of optical character recognition (OCR), document analysis and text processing, CENPARMI now has a strong group of professors from the Department of Computer Science of Concordia University, inter-university members from Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal and Ecole de Technologie Superieure, visitors from other universities, research staff and graduate students, with expertise in pattern recognition and image processing, parallel processing, computational linguistics, knowledge representation, machine intelligence and expert systems.

Mission & objectives

In the mid 1980's, this research group began to plan for the establishment of a research centre in the university, with the following mission and objectives in mind:


To promote advanced research and train highly-qualified personnel in pattern recognition and machine intelligence, and to strengthen interaction between universities and industries.

  • To foster closer collaborations among active researchers in the area of PARMI at Concordia and other universities in Quebec.
  • To disseminate knowledge acquired and to transfer technology to the industry for the economic and social well-being of Quebec and Canada.

To establish firmly our national centre of excellence in PARMI and to pursue challenging problems which might benefit Quebec economically and socially, the following strategies have been adopted:

  • To identify and explore projects which are sufficiently challenging and suitable for team research in the Centre in collaboration with the industry.
  • To engage in projects of national strategic importance which capitalize on the strengths and interests of members of the Centre.
  • To obtain funding from government agencies, industry and other organizations.
  • To organize workshops, conferences, short courses and tutorials.
  • To establish national and international exchange programs with other research institutions.
  • To invite distinguished speakers and to organize seminars, to exchange research data, technical reports, publications, and experience.
  • To increase the level of joint supervision of graduate students.

The purpose of CENPARMI is to bring together people who have expertise and common interests, and to evolve so that the Centre can grow and maintain its stature as one of the world's leading centres in PARMI.

Program description

In 1972, faculty members of the Department of Computer Science at Concordia University had already started to conduct research in the field of PARMI. Under the directorship of Dr. C.Y. Suen, a world authority in optical character recognition, CENPARMI has attracted prominent researchers from other institutions. Currently, members of this centre are conducting advanced research and development on a variety of multi-disciplinary projects in the following areas:

  • Handwriting recognition and signature verification
  • Image analysis and document processing
  • Combination of different types of features and classification techniques
  • Application of multiple expert systems and neural networks
  • Natural language processing

Technological exchanges with industry constitute one of the principal components of CENPARMI. The wide scope of our research, coupled with the talents and expertise of our members and staff, provide a stimulating environment for us to accept new challenges in theoretical and experimental computer science and engineering.

Researchers have the opportunity of conducting their work in a team to reach the common goals of the above proposed projects. They meet regularly in order to plan and discuss the progress and integration of research projects, supervise our graduate students either independently or jointly with other members, interact with our visiting scientists from other universities and industries, network with other researchers in the field, and conduct seminars within the team or in the institutes of our industrial collaborators like IBM at Yorktown Heights, IBM at San Jose, Philips, Bell Quebec and Matrox in the Montreal region, the Electrotechnical Laboratory and NTT (Nippon Telephone and Telegraph) of Japan, and in other institutions.

Visit the CENPARMI website for more information.

ENCS Software Engineering Research Center (SERC)

The ENCS Software Engineering Research Center (SERC) is designed to maintain a mechanism whereby the university environment can be used to collectively promote and undertake research, education, technology development, technology transfer, and technological workforce development to innovate and improve best practices in the software engineering domain.

The center will become a leading technology innovator, technology incubator, and a center for technology commercialization. The center will raise the level and profile of software engineering research to become a world-renowned and highly regarded software research center. The Center will enable coordinated software engineering research and development as well as education and training of Highly Qualified Personnel to meet the future software workforce needs in the larger Montreal area.

From a more visionary perspective, the Center’s goal is to improve the effectiveness and applicability of software engineering processes and resources in order to provided added benefits to organizations and society in general.

Visit the SERC website for more information

ENCS Data Science Research Centre (DSRC)

Data science has permeated into every industry, government, and business function. The future will need data-driven approaches for all fields of human endeavour. The challenges in handling massive datasets  and performing the computations for analysis to transition from raw data to information to knowledge and to application are many and varied. Progress in this area will impact every facet of human life.

The Data Science Research Centre addresses the problem of utilizing the massive amounts of data coming available. Data management is a core area in computer science, and data processing is a core activity within software engineering. Big Data, data analytics, and data-driven software tools offer tremendous opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration with the social sciences, humanities, health and life sciences, ecology and the environment, culture and heritage, and engineering as research in all these disciplines has Big Data to analyze.


The mandate for the Data Science Research Centre is excellence in basic and applied research in all aspects of Big Data, including, but not limited to, data management, data storage, data retrieval, data integration, data analysis, data mining, and data visualization. The Data Science Research Centre will promote open data in the University community, and more broadly, to business and government. 

The Data Science Research Centre will promote collaboration, promote training of highly-qualified personnel, and bring together academics, industry, and government.

Visit the DSRC website for more information

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