Former director of the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA), Cohen was an English painter with an established international reputation when he came to the University of California in 1968 for a one-year Visiting Professorship. His first experience with computing followed almost immediately, and he never returned to London. Cohen is the author of the celebrated AARON program, an ongoing research effort in autonomous machine (art making) intelligence which began when he was a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Lab in 1973. Together, Cohen and AARON have exhibited at London's Tate Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum and many more of the world's major art spaces. They have also been shown at a dozen science centers, including the Ontario Science Center, the Boston Science Museum and the Los Angeles Museum of Science and Industry. Cohen represented the US in the World Fair in Tsukuba, Japan, in 1985. He has a permanent exhibit devoted to his work in Boston's Computer Museum.