DBRS Innovation Lab
is a multidisciplinary  group  of coders, quants, designers, and scientists who are pushing the boundaries of FinTech. We do  research  in machine learning and big data with the  goal  of developing applications for emerging technologies.

What we do

The DBRS Innovation Lab a collaborative team whose focus is on making engaging and informative projects in the FinTech space. We develop data visualizations and interactive tools to help people understand the myriad factors involved in credit ratings, surveillance, and risk assessment. Our research efforts are focused on leveraging new technologies in order to augment our analytical capabilities.

Since 1976 DBRS has produced its credit ratings from intensively researched quantitative and qualitative information across many asset classes. With almost 40 years’ experience in quantified analytics, DBRS started the innovation lab to investigate new means of conveying this information to capital markets participants.

Our research

The Innovation Lab hosts researchers for month-long residencies. These research residents work with our team to investigate topics related to the work we do here. Past research topics have included time series data, neural networks, and simulating economic models.


Who we are

Our team consists of engineers and mathematicians, story-tellers and data artists. We interrogate big datasets to uncover hidden trends, make animations that set beautiful geometries in motion, and train neural networks to hew insights from raw numbers. Our tools allow us to examine the details of our economy and our world with extreme precision, and to simplify complex information accurately. We are dedicated to finding exciting new ways of helping people see the insights beyond the rating.

Sean Lensborn

Chief Information Officer


Sean Lensborn is Chief Information Officer at DBRS, a leading credit rating agency. Sean brings a tremendous amount of experience from technology startups, which he applies to great effect in a Wall Street enterprise setting. Before Sean, DBRS was a “keep the lights on” technology operation - a company who’s use of IT was limited to only the bare minimum necessary to keep operations running. Under his leadership, the agency has grown into a technologically sophisticated organization, leveraging powerful new tools to help drive business growth. DBRS is currently implementing a number of innovative technologies, including Desktop as a Service, Amazon Web Services, Apache Spark, and numerous SaaS platforms. Sean loves talking about how to these new ideas can deliver value.

Amelia Winger-Bearskin

Director


New York-native Amelia Winger-Bearskin is an accomplished artist and creative technologist with a deep understanding of digital media, visual storytelling, and performance. After five years as an assistant professor of time-based media art and film at Vanderbilt University, Amelia returned to her roots in the NYC creative-tech scene to pursue a masters program at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. Her artist’s CV lists performances and works in venues as diverse as Montreal, Beijing, Manila, Seoul, Sao Paulo, Washington DC and New York City (where she created the interactive data portion of The Exchange Archive at MoMA in 2013.) She is focused on fostering creative exploration at the Innovation Lab, where research, technology and design combine to create new data products.

David Huerta

Developer


David Huerta is a full-stack web developer who has been putting projects online since he was 15 years old in rural Idaho. Before arriving at DBRS he was the lead developer at the Brooklyn Museum where he implemented the use of new technologies to enhance the museum experience. David is responsible for hayst.ac - a browser plugin that intentionally frustrates data-mining algorithms by distorting the user’s Google search history. After work he helps organize Art Hack Day, an international hackathon which brings together tech-savvy artists and artistically-inclined technologists.

Jamis Johnson

Machine Learning Scientist


Jamis Johnson studied machine learning at Columbia University where he researched convolutional neural networks in the robotics lab, as well as the DeepMind deep Q-networks, to solve computer vision tasks. He is intrigued by solving machine learning tasks at scale in a distributed manner and exploring how functional languages and category theory relate to describing machine learning computations. In his spare time he skateboards, solves crosswords, meanders in NYC, and hopefully skis Utah at least once a year.

Jennifer Rubinovitz

Machine Learning Scientist


Jennifer Rubinovitz is a machine learning scientist with a passion for enabling human-computer collaboration. She comes to DBRS on the heels of her M.S. in Computer Science with a Machine Learning concentration at Columbia University, where she researched data tools and machine learning algorithms to help early stage entrepreneurs. An active leader in technology and startup communities, co-organizes the NYC LGBT technologist group, Identity Hackers, and collaborates with numerous technology startups in the city. She originated the Columbia Startup Lab Hacker-In-Residence role and has placed in technology innovation competitions from Austin, Texas to Paris, France. She has also been a hackNY fellow, and served in advisory roles in numerous hackathons and the Major League Hacking student hackathon league. Jen holds a bachelor’s in Computer Science from Rutgers University and also studied at Ringling College of Art & Design.

Fletcher Bach

User Experience Designer


Fletcher Bach is an interactive artist, designer, and creative technologist. With a BA in Anthropology from the University of Vermont and a master’s from New York University’s ITP, Fletcher blends technical acuity with an abiding interest in the craft of toolmaking to design elegant and functional interactions across a wide variety of media. Fletcher is Sensor Specialist at a private aerospace safety garment design company where he designs and builds embedded sensor systems for NASA contract suit development projects. His work has been featured in Fast Company, Hacker News, Forbes, Make, and Vice’s Motherboard.

Joelle Fleurantin

Design Researcher


Joelle Fleurantin is an artist and design researcher whose work explores her often functional, sometimes dysfunctional relationship with her computer. She is interested in how user experience research and design principles can be implemented with new technologies. Joelle is a graduate of New York University's ITP, and studied art history and film at Yale University and Brooklyn College respectively.

John Farrell

Graphic Designer


John Farrell is a designer and technologist from Philadelphia, PA. His work focuses on bringing physical devices and live internet connections together to create novel interactions. Topics of interest include surveillance, sustainability, internet of things, critical design, and data. He also likes being outdoors.

Researchers in Residence

Aaron Arntz

January, 2016


Aaron Arntz is an accomplished musician and computer artist, currently based in Brooklyn NY. As a pianist, Aaron trained in conservatory and studied jazz piano at USC. Afterwards he went on to play and tour with such acclaimed musical acts as Grammy-winner Dweezil Zappa, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Grizzly Bear, and Beirut, among many others. He holds a master’s degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, where he developed work exploring topics of computational languages, human-computer collaboration, and self-reflexivity in code.

Cassie Tarakajian

February, 2016


Cassie Tarakajian is a New York based technologist and artist originally from Hoboken, New Jersey. She studied electrical engineering and music at Johns Hopkins University. Afterwards she returned to New York to work in software development at the media and finance giant Bloomberg, and web development at the design agency of one of the cofounders of Vine, Big Human. She has been a technology focused artist-in-residence at Pioneer Works. Past projects include a live audio processing system built with VHDL in hardware controlled by a Wiimote, an robot controlled by an Arduino, experimentations with front-end browser technologies to make instruments and drawings, and musical composition and sound design in MaxMSP and Ableton. Recently, she has been combining these interests into interactive storytelling and immersive data visualization with virtual reality.

Fei Liu

March, 2016


Fei Liu is an artist, designer, and tinkerer who uses storytelling and satire as a form of social criticism. Before she received her MFA from Parsons School of Design, she spent two years in China working with artists, bilingual art publications, and site-specific installations in UNESCO-protected relics. Fei has presented her projects at SXSW, NYC MakerFaire, Dumbo Come Out and Play, tech@NYU, The New School, and the UCLA Wight Gallery. Past work include growing piezoelectric crystals for energy harvesting, a quantified self exercise regime and machine, and a browser plugin that displays political affiliations of companies leveraging your browser traffic.

Francis Tseng

March, 2016


Francis Tseng is a designer and data developer interested in how automation, simulation, and machine learning relate to social and political issues. In the past he has worked on software for safe digital communities as a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews fellow for the Coral Project, dystopian machine learning workshops, taught about journalism and technology at the New School, developed an automated remixer, and prototyped news automation software under a Knight Prototype grant.

Gene Kogan

April, 2016


Gene Kogan is an artist and programmer who is interested in generative systems and the application of emerging technology into artistic and expressive contexts. He writes code for live music, performance, and visual art. He also contributes to open-source software projects such as openFrameworks, Processing, and p5.js, and gives workshops and demonstrations on topics related to code and art. Gene is adjunct professor at Bennington College, and a former resident at Eyebeam.

Allison Parrish

May, 2016


Allison Parrish is a computer programmer, poet, educator and game designer who lives in Brooklyn. Her work as a software developer culminated in her appointment as CTO of Socialbomb (a NYC digital agency) in 2012; later, she served as Director of Software Architecture at Kandu, Inc. Allison has held fellowships and residencies with the Processing Foundation, the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at CMU, and Recurse Center in New York City, as well as serving as the Digital Creative Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University from 2014 to 2016. She holds a BA in Linguistics from UC Berkeley, and a masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), where is currently an adjunct professor.

Ross Goodwin

June, 2016


Ross Goodwin is a creative technologist, artist, hacker, data scientist, and former White House ghostwriter. He employs machine learning, natural language processing, and other computational tools to realize new forms and interfaces for written language. His work has been discussed in the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, Ars Technica, VICE Motherboard, Gizmodo, Engadget, TechCrunch, Forbes, Slate, Fast Company, Mashable, and many other publications. He has exhibited or spoken at the venues such as International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) DocLab, the TriBeCa Film Festival Interactive Showcase, the International Center of Photography (ICP), the MIT Media Lab, and Maker Faire, among others. Ross earned his undergraduate degree in Economics from MIT in 2009, and his graduate degree from NYU ITP in May 2016.

Seth Kranzler

July, 2016


Seth Kranzler is an artist and electronic musician who works with code and new technology. A recent graduate of NYU’s ITP program, his work includes an interactive music environment in virtual reality, a multichannel audio exploration of the Macaulay Library of wildlife sounds, and an interactive audio website for the musician Flume. He has presented his work at Creative Technology Week in New York, IX Symposium in Montreal, and Second Sunday at Pioneer Works. He has been a Technology Resident at Pioneer Works and a participant at Google's Summer of Code, where he worked on the Tone.js library.

Pamela Liou

August, 2016


Pamela Liou is a designer, technologist, and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work exposes the hidden sociopolitical infrastructures in the global garment industry, and examines the tensions between craftsmanship, technology and commerce. She focuses on recoupling the consumer with the producer through design literacy and mass customization, fostering intimacy and efficacy through a dialectical creation process.Through her investigations of of supply chains, market design, and digital fabrication, Pamela’s work offers alternative modalities for production and distribution. Pamela is a recent graduate of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, and has held previous residencies at Eyebeam and MAD AIR.

Advisers

Thomas Little


Before coming to DBRS as the Senior Vice President for Global Technology, Tom Little was a Data Scientist with McKinsey & Company, SMBC and Millennial Media where he worked on predictive analytics and data science platforms across a variety of industries (insurance, banking, digital advertising). Prior to that he was a startup co-founder of Pivit.io, an online / mobile prediction market that is now CNN’s official sentiment indicator for the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Tom was the Director of Research at financial technology startup Quadriserv from 2005-2011. He holds an MBA from NYU Stern and MS from Lehigh University where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow in Global Logistics. In his spare time he mentors new entrepreneurs at Emerging Technology Centers in Baltimore and is an analytics advisor to e-commerce startup, ThreadLab based in Las Vegas.

Gordon Kerr


Gordon Kerr heads European Structured Finance Research at DBRS. He publishes commentary and insight on all aspects of securitized investing and keeps the market up to date on issues facing securitization in Europe. Prior to DBRS, Gordon spent 9 years in research and trading at Citi, covering securitized products, covered bonds and corporate credit. Gordon is a graduate of the Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he obtained a Masters in Business Administration. He also holds a science degree from Acadia University.

Glen Leppert


As the Senior Vice President for US and European Structured Credit Ratings and Structured Finance Quantitative Analytics, Glenn has been instrumental in shaping innovations at DBRS for the last seven years.

Michael Moriarty


As Vice President at DBRS, Mike is dedicated to bringing Visual Basic Application solutions for Structured Finance analysis. He has a strong background in quantitative analysis, risk assessment, procedure automation and model development.

Kenneth Vanderpool


Kenneth lives at the intersection of data, finance, and technology. As a quantitative analyst at DBRS, he develops models and methodologies for teams around the globe. His passion for new and innovative solutions has fed his desire to transform credit research into powerful, interactive analytics. Kenneth is also a musician, and was a member of the Bach Society during his time at Columbia University.

Zac Ruiz


Zac Ruiz is a software developer turned entrepreneur, with experience in financial services, healthcare, streaming media, and information security. His passion is combining teamwork and technology to create value for businesses, customers, and society at large. Zac understands that a healthy technology project is a special kind of chaos, and thrives in that environment. He loves moving things that don’t want to move, good people, and challenging problems with high stakes.