Agora Data taps Harvey Mudd College to collaborate on AI-based app for dealers


Agora Data chief executive officer Steve Burke dubs it the “Mars Shot” project.

This week, the finance solution provider of predictive loan technology for buy-here, pay-here dealerships announced it is sponsoring a program for the Harvey Mudd College Clinic Program at one of the premier engineering, science and mathematics colleges in the United States.

Agora Data said it is working with the students and providing support for this special project to develop a revolutionary new artificial intelligence-based application for BHPH dealers that also is expected to serve as a valuable educational tool for consumers.

The program was founded in 1963 and is a year-long project where seniors take their skills out of the classroom and apply them to real-world projects.

The Agora Data Clinic project focuses on developing an easy-to-use mobile application to help optimize loan options for both the buyer and the dealer. The company said this new capability will bring transparency and clarity for consumers who may otherwise have uncertainty when financing the purchase of a vehicle, and ultimately will help promote more equitable lending practices.

Agora Data added that the project will incorporate the effective use of data and integration of artificial intelligence including augmented reality and machine learning.

“I am looking forward to working with these high-caliber Harvey Mudd College students who have been put through the rigor of such a strong STEM and data science program,” Agora Data senior vice president of data science Chad Stilwell said in a news release.

“The joint collaboration is a great opportunity for Agora to give back to this next generation of problem solvers and use this project to help provide additional financial guidance to a somewhat underbanked consumer segment. I look forward to cultivating the students’ talents and to seeing what they will build,” Stillwell continued.

The Clinic Program is what the institution called “a pioneering program of collaboration” between industry and Harvey Mudd College. A hallmark of the college for more than 50 years, the program engages juniors and seniors in the solution of real-world, technical problems for industrial clients.

The clinic allows students to apply their academic experience in partnership with a corporate sponsor. Students work in teams to complete computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, or multidisciplinary projects. For many students, these projects serve as their senior capstone experience.

“Providing students a real-world business case that helps to solve an industry challenge offers an excellent hands-on experience not found in the classroom,” said Darryl Yong, professor of mathematics and the mathematics clinic program director at Harvey Mudd College.

“The Agora Data project will advance the students’ experiential learning over the next two semesters and will challenge their thinking as they work in collaboration to simplify a true business need,” Yong went on to say.

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