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The Almighty Buck

Future of Financial Mathematics? 301

An anonymous reader writes "Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a famous 'Quant,' has long been a strong critic of the use of mathematics and statistics in the financial markets. He has been very vocal in his books The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness. In his article on edge.org, he says 'My outrage is aimed at the scientist-charlatan putting society at risk using statistical methods. This is similar to iatrogenics, the study of the doctor putting the patient at risk.' After the recent financial crisis, wired.com ran an article titled 'Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street' in which the quant David Li and his Gaussian Copula were crucified — we discussed it at the time. Now, I've recently been admitted to a graduate program of good repute in Computational & Applied Mathematics. There is a wide range of subjects in which you can pursue your PhD, one of them being Financial Mathematics. I had a passing interest in it for quite some time. In the current scenario, how advisable it is to pursue a PhD in this topic? What would my options be five years down the line? Will the so-called 'quants' still be wanted by the banks and other financial institutions, or will they turn to more 'non-math' approaches? Would I be better off specializing in less volatile areas of Applied Mathematics? In short, what is the future of Financial Mathematics in light of the current financial crisis?"

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