Chapman University expands its science learning opportunities thanks to a donation from Experian. The $750,000 pledge will create the Experian Assistant Professorship in Machine Learning.

“We are grateful for the generosity of Experian and excited to be able to put their gift to use immediately to expand machine learning opportunities in our science programs,” said Andrew Lyon, Ph.D., dean of the Schmid College of Science and Technology at Chapman University. “This is a great partnership between academia and industry.”

The Experian Assistant Professorship in Machine Learning will be held by Erik Linstead, Ph.D., the director of the undergraduate computing programs in computer science, software engineering, and data analytics. He is also the principal investigator of Chapman’s Machine Learning and Assistive Technology Lab (MLAT).

At the MLAT Lab, Chapman researchers leverage big data and technology to solve problems of social significance, with a focus on autism spectrum disorder. The projects vary from deep learning to virtual reality to bioinformatics. The researchers in the MLAT Lab have expertise in the areas of predictive analytics, statistics, software engineering, molecular biology and artificial intelligence.

“What Experian’s gift will do is help Chapman to expand our reach into the data analytics discipline and provide more resources for students who are interested in these areas,” said Dr. Linstead. “The assistant professorship is an honor – Experian’s gift is transformational for the MLAT Lab.”

Chapman and Experian have a long relationship that began with traditional internships for graduate students working in the area of data science. This blossomed into an innovative program that also embedded a faculty member within Experian to better understand the types of problems faced in industry in order to better shape the curriculum in the data science programs at Chapman. Over time, this matured into a partnership founded on the idea that machine learning, both in industry and academia, can be used to change lives for the better.

“We are thrilled to be part of Chapman’s research in machine learning. At Experian, we are investing substantial time and resources into this burgeoning field of data science.  In doing so, we are committed to developing data scientists that have the ability to work with data and analytics to help people and businesses achieve more,” said Guy Abramo, President of Consumer Business for Experian. “Whether that is helping people do important things to improve their lives and realize their ambitions, such as buying a car or home, funding an education, growing a business or protecting their identity. Going forward, it is clear that data scientists will prove instrumental in helping our society.”

In addition to the assistant professorship pledge, in 2015 and 2013 Experian gave Chapman a combined total of $450,000 to support the MLAT Lab, as well as scholarships in the Computational and Data Science (CADS) graduate program. In this capacity, then student, and now computer science faculty member, Elizabeth Stevens became an Experian Scholar in Computational and Data Science, reinforcing the long-standing partnership between Experian and Chapman in producing leaders in the field of big data.

Additionally, in Chapman’s recent burst of growth in the sciences, the University has added a data analytics undergraduate degree making it one of the few universities in the nation that offers a program that combines the computation programs with business school acumen to create a hybrid degree where students can learn to manage the computer infrastructure of a business. Chapman’s partnership over the years with Experian is an example of employing this knowledge in a real life application.

About Experian

Experian® is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments — from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers — we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organizations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 17,000 people operating across 37 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help all our clients maximize every opportunity. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Learn more at or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the company.

About Chapman University

As an academically distinguished center of learning, Chapman University attracts extraordinary students and faculty from around the globe. Its ten schools and colleges foster a vibrant intellectual community, and provide extensive opportunities for students to learn, grow and discover alongside remarkable faculty. The University is home to some 8,000 students pursuing bachelor, master and doctoral degrees, and is alma mater to more than 40,000 alumni found throughout the United States and the world. Now celebrating its 156th year, Chapman is known for its distinguishing strengths in leadership and civic engagement, in the arts and entertainment disciplines, and in specialized sectors of technology and science. The University is comprised of its main campus in Orange, California, and the Rinker Health Science Campus for graduate health science programs in Irvine, California. Visit us at

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