Legends of the Monte Carlo Technique

A recent blog in Investment Week that mentioned the history of Monte Carlo simulation and its use in finance led me to take a harder look at what I thought I knew about how financial risk analysis was launched. I had long believed that Monte Carlo simulation was developed by a team working at Los …

Shape Shifters

A recent blog for Discover magazine reports on robotics research in which the robots evolve, at least in the sense that they progressively change shape.  The research by Josh Bongard, University of Vermont,  tracks the metamorphosis of robot with a simple shape–in this case, the shape of a snake––to a more complex machine-animal shape––for Bongard’s …

Facts Are Not for Quantitative Sissies

Media reports on the  global search for alternative and sustainable energy sources often dwell in the happy realms of possibility and leave me happily clinging to a cheerful bits of information they offer up––"if everyone over the age of 21 replaced on incandescent lightbulb with a fluorescent," and blah, blah––when was the last time you …

Playing the Game with the CSOs

There’s a new game out there for all of you in the game of risk management. "Take Charge: A Risk Simulation Game," developed by the Indian risk management services provider Aujas, debuted at a recent summit for CSOs––chief security officers, as opposed to chief strategic officers––in Bangalore. "Take Charge" is a team sport that is …

Swallow Your Pride

Financial advisers took a hit from the 2008 meltdown of the markets.  Many investors, finding fault with their advisers’ lack of prescience or actual handling of their investments during the crisis, decided they could do just as well managing their own investments––and they ditched their advisory firms.   So far their results probably haven’t been …

The Number and Its Evils

In elementary school arithmetic, most of us who want to do well struggle to come up with the correct answer to that problem posted on the blackboard. Unfortunately, that’s the way many grown-up decision makers approach risk management.  At a recent Palisade Users Conference, v.p. Randy Heffernan offered up some fun and insightful comments about …

On Drugs and Harm in the UK

 This week the BBC’s home editor, Mark Easton, reports on a new study examining the "harm" impacts of drugs in the UK, where there is ongoing debate about government drug policy and the issue of legalization.  The study was a statistical analysis produced by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, a group of scientists who …