I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week in Nashville, Tennessee. Well, not really. In a hotel just off the runway is more like it, the Sheraton Music City was the venue for the IEEE symposium of the title. It was OK, but the food was terrible. Since we weren't downtown there was not a good chance to get out and experience more of Nashville.
But the science was great! I was there to speak on two panel discussions in the financial engineering track. I actually spent most of my free time in the A-Life track. By pure coincidence, I met up with Wes Elsberry of MSU. Wes is a key figure in the fight against intelligent design and anti-evolutionary creationism.
I thought Wes' talk on his research using Avida to explore the evolution of motion strategies was very interesting.
I made two points I think are worth repeating here. The research opportunities I think will be most helpful to the financial world are ontologies for law, accounting, and financial regulation, and agent based modeling as a way to escape the failed Rational Man hypothesis. One point raised by an audience member was that US federal level financial regulators should be supporting more academic research. I completely agree. Given the billions that are being thrown at problems, it wouldn't hurt to support some hard thinking.