Academics are often stereotyped as living in ivory towers and thinking about issues far removed from reality. The misconception of an academic faculty member as some one who only teaches a few hours a week is widespread.
If there is a recent event I attended which was more effective in countering these stereotypes, it was the inauguration of the Institute for financial computing at our university. Kick-started by my colleagues in the computer science department, the center is based on collaboration with the finance group in the university’s business school. The inaugural event was more in-house in nature where the active participants in the institute introduced their relevant research.
The general aim of the institute is to develop shared vision of financial computing, develop collaborations with partners like IBM and Bloomberg and build IT infrastructure for financial research. The research focus is on massive data sets, high performance computing and algorithmic trading, asset pricing models, algorithmic trading strategies, statistical learning and market impact models.
Financial computing in UK academia has been catching on elsewhere. A research and doctoral training centre in financial computing has been established in London to support the city’s financial services. The centre has attracted £7m in government funding and support from a consortium of 20 banks and financial institutions. Academic institutions include University College London (UCL), London School of Economics (LSE) and the London Business School (LBS). Interestingly, each student will be work with an industry advisor from companies like Abbey/Santander, Aspect Capital, Barclays, Bank of America, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, LloydsTSB, Merrill Lynch, MAN Group, Morgan Stanley, Nomura, RBS, Thomson Reuters and UBS.