Data, Dollars, and Algorithms: The Computational Economy

Harvard University Science Center, Hall B
1 Oxford Street
Cambridge MA 02138
Thu., Jan. 19, 2017, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

You buy lunch from a food truck and pay by waving your cell phone; before you’ve finished your sandwich, the transaction is posted to your bank account. This is an example of how computer technology lubricates the economy. At a deeper level, computation is also essential to many aspects of financial engineering—portfolio selection, risk management, high-speed trading, the design of new market mechanisms such as online auctions, and even algorithms for the donation and exchange of human organs. With BitCoin, money itself has become a computational object. And yet there remain pitfalls in economic life that algorithmic methods have so far failed to overcome. We still struggle to forecast and control macroeconomic cycles of boom and bust and to deal with inequities of wealth distribution. Merely measuring the state of the economy (productivity, employment, inflation) is slow and imprecise. Can abundant data and computational power play a role in improving this situation?

This symposium will explore how access to copious streams of data and powerful computing resources are transforming our understanding of economic activity—and how these same tools are changing the nature of the economy itself.

Gazette Classification: Business, Conferences, Ethics, Information Technology, Science
Organization/Sponsor: Institute for Applied Computational Science (IACS) at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Cost: Free and open to the public; No registration required.
Contact Info: Email:
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