Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street

Jun 5, 2011
J. Webster
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Quants are the math wizards and computer programmers in the engine room of our global financial system who designed the financial products that almost crashed Wall Street. The credit crunch showed how the global financial system has become increasingly dependent on mathematical models trying to quantify human (economic) behavior. Now the quants are at the heart of yet another technological revolution in finance: trading at the speed of light.

What are the risks of treating the economy and its markets as a complex machine? Will we be able to keep control of this model-based financial system, or have we created a monster?

(Perhaps one of the most interesting ideas comes towards the end, when they talk about people trading based on Google search terms. Which seems difficult to use as a means of gauging what stock or company is going to do well. It seems more of an after the fact type of thing, once something is in the news or a hit then it is searched on Google. However, I guess you could track the rise in searches for various products or trends as a means of predicting what companies will do well in the future…)

A story about greed, fear and randomness from the insides of Wall Street.

Director: Marije Meerman
Research: Gerko Wessel

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