The University of Maryland and Capital One will announce a partnership Tuesday to encourage research and innovation and boost the talent pipeline in data and machine learning.
Capital One will invest $3 million to support computer science, data analytics, machine learning and cybersecurity projects, and an innovation lab will launch in the nearby Discovery District, a technology and research hub aimed to revitalize the Route 1 corridor.
“We started talking with Capital One well over a year ago about stepping up our efforts together regarding their focus on computer science, machine learning [and] cybersecurity,” said Ken Ulman, this university’s chief strategy officer for economic development. “They hire many of our graduates, and we’re interested in enriching that partnership with the academic side of the house.”
Adam Wenchel, the vice president of AI and data innovation at Capital One, said this university’s “extremely strong” computer science program, its close proximity to Capital One headquarters in McLean, Virginia and its computer science investments from Oculus VR founder Brendan Iribe made it stand out for the partnership.
“Machine learning is just a huge focus for us right now. It’s transforming industries from healthcare to the logistics of self driving cars, and it’ll be the same thing with the financial industry.” Wenchel said. “We’re making sure that we have the right kind of people and one of the best ways to do that is partnerships with top universities.”
Most of the donation — $2.1 million — will be used to endow faculty chair in this university’s computer science department. The remaining $900,000 will help fund research and educational projects, and Capital One will help create the Capital One Machine Learning research stream for the First-Year Innovation and Research Experience program at this university, according to FIRE’s website.
Each FIRE research stream serves 30 to 35 students, so First-Year Research Program Director Patrick Killion said the donation is an exciting opportunity to serve more incoming freshman, especially in the computer science major, the most popular primary major among new students in fall 2017, according to the Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment.
FIRE has already chosen a faculty leader and research educator for the program, Killion said.
“This is our first major stream launch with an industry partner, and so it’s just super exciting that an industry partner sees the value of nurturing professional development for freshman and what they get from that engagement,” Killion said. “So this has the capacity to build recruitment pipeline for Capital One when they start to identify their future professionals much earlier.”
Killion also said he hopes to open more research streams with Capital One in the future.
Capital One will also open an innovation lab in the Discovery District, a 150-acre area around The Hotel at the University of Maryland that makes up part of this university’s Greater College Park initiative.
The lab will be a 7500-square-foot space on the first floor of the garage beside The Hotel, now dubbed Diamondback Garage, Ulman said, and officials aim to have it open in March or April.
“You can imagine a student or faculty member who’s at the Iribe Center in class, either teaching a class or as a student in class, who then walks across the street for their internship, or to work collaboratively on a cutting edge challenge that Capital One is funding,” Ulman said.
Another upcoming space in the Discovery District will be a 75,000-square-foot office building in the M Square research park, developed with Corporate Office Properties Trust. Ulman said it is “almost done” construction and will be accepting leases soon.
The Virginia-based company currently holds naming rights to this university’s football stadium. The newly announced partnership will not affect this university’s previous relationships with the company, Ulman said.