Center for Research toward Advancing Financial Technologies Announces Industry Members, Research Projects to Drive Fintech Sector Innovation

Stevens Institute of Technology and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced their first industry members, “including Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), and initial research projects for the Center for Research toward Advancing Financial Technologies (CRAFT).”

An industry-university cooperative research center, “backed by a grant from the National Science Foundation, CRAFT underscores the nation’s strategic investment in managing risks and challenges facing the high-tech financial services industry.”

Steve Yang, CRAFT co-director and associate professor at Stevens Institute of Technology’s School of Business, said:

“CRAFT addresses the critical need for collaborative research and policy initiatives to guide and transform the fintech sector. We’re extremely pleased to announce our initial member companies and affiliate organizations and the 2022-23 applied research we’re undertaking on their behalf. With speed, security, computational power, AI-enabled finance, and novel analytics systems becoming increasingly important to the financial industry’s success, we’re confident that our work will provide a competitive advantage.”

More than eleven member companies “have joined CRAFT, which can be viewed on the CRAFT website.”

Mike Purewal, head of Global Markets data science at Bank of America and CRAFT advisory board member, said:

“Greater collaboration between industry and academia is critical in advancing the common needs of clients and the wider financial industry. Technology is a fundamental part of the business, which is why accessing cutting-edge research and collaborating with leading institutions like CRAFT, Stevens, and Rensselaer will help expand our thinking beyond traditional financial disciplines. As the industry embraces emerging technologies, we are able to work together to address specific challenges and techniques like applying machine learning to finance, fairness, risk, and social responsibility.”

CRAFT has “identified seven research initiatives to be completed from June 2022 until May 2023,” including:

  • Causal Inference for Fairness and Explainability in Financial Decisions
  • Explainable Machine Learning for Credit Risk Analytics
  • High-dimensional Portfolio Design and Optimization using an Explainable Ensemble Learning Framework
  • Predictive Learning from Long Financial Text Documents
  • Risky Business? Deep Dives into DeFi
  • Risk Mitigation in Cross-Platform Decentralized Finance
  • Fast Quantum Methods for Financial Risk Management

Key to advancing CRAFT’s research initiatives is “the Hanlon Financial Systems Center, which includes two financial analytics labs to support Steven’s students in applying fintech solutions to real-world business problems.”

In addition, students involved “with Stevens’ fintech-related bachelor’s and master’s programs team up with Rensselaer’s specialized master’s degree students studying Quantitative Finance and Risk Analytics to support CRAFT’s research.”

Aparna Gupta, CRAFT co-director and professor at Rensselaer’s Lally School of Management, said:

“With the first set of industry funded research projects underway, CRAFT is poised to make a significant impact on the future of the financial services sector and the technological challenges it faces. CRAFT’s accomplished industry advisory board has been instrumental in setting CRAFT off on a great trajectory that will result in exciting and consequential outcomes.”

As noted in the update, Stevens Institute of Technology claims it is “a premier, private research university situated in Hoboken, New Jersey overlooking the Manhattan skyline.”

Since their founding in 1870, technological innovation “has been the hallmark of Stevens’ education and research.”

Within the university’s three schools and one college, 7,300 undergraduate and graduate students collaborate closely “with faculty in an interdisciplinary, student-centric, entrepreneurial environment.”

Academic and research programs “spanning business, computing, engineering, the arts, and other disciplines actively advance the frontiers of science and leverage technology to confront our most pressing global challenges.”


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