Lally School of Management Receives Grant to Develop New Financial Technologies Center

NSF funding will allow collaborative research on cyber and financial technologies

April 27, 2020


TROY, N.Y. — With a recent grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), planning is underway for a new center that will bring researchers from business, computer science, engineering, and law together with public and private sector representatives for interdisciplinary collaboration around cyber and financial technologies.

Aparna Gupta, an associate professor of quantitative finance at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is leading the process of developing what will become the Center for Risks and Advances in Financial Technologies (CRAFT). Hosted jointly by Rensselaer, Stevens Institute of Technology, and the Cyber SMART Center at Georgetown University, it will support the development of innovations, policies, and regulations critical for the new cyber technologies.

“By bringing together a community of multidisciplinary researchers and industry practitioners, CRAFT will create an unprecedented ecosystem to advance the innovations and address the related challenges in cyber and financial technologies research,” said Gupta, who also serves as the director of the Center for Financial Studies at Rensselaer.

CRAFT will integrate the established strengths of Rensselaer in computer science, data sciences, and quantitative finance. Rensselaer expertise in machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, distributed ledger technologies, and network analytics will be utilized to support innovations in payments, lending, financing, insurance, and trading/investing. CRAFT will also work to develop innovations in important segments of the real economy, such as health care, supply chains, and green finance.

“As a quantitative finance researcher, addressing practical challenges of industry relevance is where I find my research to be most rewarding,” Gupta said. “The center will serve this objective not just for me, but for all researchers at Rensselaer who seek to make an impact at the interface of technology and finance.”

CRAFT is part of the NSF Industry–University Cooperative Research Centers program, which began in 1973 as part of an effort to develop long-term partnerships among industry, academe, and government. A key component of the preparation to launch the center is a workshop planned for the fall of 2020 that will bring together industry leaders and university specialists to focus on research projects and the direction of the center.

As part of the requirements of the grant, businesses must also match the funds as evidence that the research is responsive to real-world challenges. Gupta and the CRAFT team have obtained letters of support from companies including IBM, BNP Paribas, Bank of America, Capgemini, and UBS, among others.

“The finance industry today is completely transformed,” Gupta said. “It is driven by and dependent on technology like never before. This center will address the formidable technology challenges faced by the industry to bring innovative solutions to everyday problems.”

Written By Jeanne Hedden Gallagher
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