NYU to Launch AIG-NYU Collaborative Research Initiative

David K.A. Mordecai and Samantha Kappagoda, Co-Investigators at RiskEcon® Lab for Decision Metrics @ Courant, were instrumental in the establishment of the AIG-NYU Partnership on Innovation for Global Resilience, a five-year, $5.5 million joint collaborative research program in coordination with Paul Horn of NYU. Dr. Horn, Distinguished Scientist in Residence, Senior Vice Provost for Research, and Senior Vice Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Entrepreneurship, Polytechnic School of Engineering, leads University-wide research efforts at NYU, specializing in developing links between faculty, students and industry and promoting a dynamic entrepreneurial environment.

Dr. Mordecai joins the Partnership’s Advisory Commitee, which is co-chaired by Siddhartha Dalal from AIG and Anindya Ghose from NYU. Research proposals from NYU faculty are presently being reviewed by the Advisory Committee, which will select for funding those projects that demonstrate the potential to have a transformational impact on the world at large.

In the future, AIG may partner with other academic institutions, but Dr. Horn believes there are essential reasons the company took the first step with NYU. “They chose to do it with us because we have some good contacts and they correctly think we have some really smart faculty,” he asserts. “Sid Dalal, who is the co-chair of the project on the AIG side, used to be at RAND, and I worked with him on and off for many years.”

Further illustrating the pre-existing bonds between NYU and AIG, Dr. Horn notes that “We also have a number of faculty, including David Mordecai.” As a senior executive at AIG during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Dr Mordecai’s firm-wide scope of activities with senior management included oversight of the development and assessment of enterprise-wide asset-liability analytics and the arrangement of risk management programs across finance, insurance and reinsurance.

AIG recently created a research division with the goal of using analytics to solve problems. “They knew NYU is strong in data science and analytics, so it was natural to start talking and seeing if there was something we could do together,” he explains. “Plus, with Facebook and the IBM Watson group moving here to the Village, the Moore and Sloan foundations picking NYU as one of the three nodes, the new initiative started by Leslie Greengard with the Simons Foundation, Google just a few blocks away, and Microsoft with a research program here … all of these are connected to us one way or the other. I like to think of the buzz in and around NYU a bit like the buzz twenty years ago around Stanford. Silicon Alley is really getting hot.” Leslie Greengard is Executive Principal Investigator of RiskEcon® Lab @ Courant.

About RiskEcon® Lab @ Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU

Mordecai and Kappagoda are both Investigators at RiskEcon® Lab @Courant.  The mission of RiskEcon® Lab @ Courant is to facilitate the development of software, analytics tools, and semantic libraries that employ high-dimensional datasets to integrate conventional data with web-enabled demographic, biometric, psychometric and sociometric data from innovative sources, by applying a range of computational and analytical methods to commercial, consumer and population-related societal trends, focusing primarily on research and development (R&D).Our goal is to integrate web-enabled crowdsourcing with machine learning, data-mining, and text-mining, in order to promote research fundamental to large-scale, real world questions, employing applied computational statistics, and robust and scalable data analytic solutions.

March 31st 2014, New York NY