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View Diary: Li'l NSA Spy Kit (39 comments)

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  •  No one else is really hiring mathematicians these (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksuwildkat, elfling, mathGuyNTulsa

    days.

    In the '90s and into the '00s Wall Street hired a lot to develop risk management tools.  Which spectacularly crashed everything round about '07 or so, thus diminishing their career prospects there - so I'm sure math types are mighty happy the NSA is still hiring . . .

    •  Facts dont fit the narrative (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      Dont bother with things like facts.  Since they dont fit the chosen narrative they are unimportant.

      Obviously NSA sets up vans at all major universities to grab newly minted PhDs and drag them off to Ft Meade where they are placed in dungeons and forced against their will to run drones and BENGHAZI!!

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 07:20:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd be shocked if the likes of Facebook and Google (0+ / 0-)

        haven't also hired a fair share of mathematicians lately to deal with their "big data" problems, err "opportunities"

        I bet they even pay more than the NSA!

        If of course, the newly minted math grads are able to evade the unmarked vans and black helicopters.

        •  Google was founded by mathematicians (0+ / 0-)

          who solved the problem of ranking the value of Web sites to users with the full range of interests based on the network of connections between them.

          Basically, the original PageRank was the eigenvector of a modified adjacency matrix, approximated iteratively by dividing the value of any site at any step among all of the pages it links to, and sharing the previous rank of pages with no outgoing links among all pages in the collection. The iteration continues until a sufficiently stable set of values results.

          Bozhe moi! Thees, I know from nothink!
          Tom Lehrer, Lobachevsky

          So you can ask them for the best Progressive sites on any topic, or the worst Conspiracy Theories, and PageRank can oblige with whatever gets pointed to most by pages that get pointed to a lot, etc., within the set matching your search terms.

          Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

          by Mokurai on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 12:30:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  NSA does recruiting efforts w/ math majors (4+ / 0-)

        My daughter (currently in a math PhD program) has been to conferences where the NSA is a co-sponsor and where NSA people have spoken.  

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 08:29:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Back in the 80's and 90's it was the CIA that (0+ / 0-)

          was actively recruiting math majors from colleges, and at that time they were offering large salaries & bonuses to sign up.

          "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

          by doingbusinessas on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 12:09:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Did you mistake this website for Fox News? (0+ / 0-)

        Or do you just have difficulty distinguishing satire from journalism?

    •  OK, that's a bit schizophrenic (0+ / 0-)

      since I later said that that likes of Facebook and Google are hiring.

      But there's a method to the madness, the NSA isn't going to have a clue what to make of my posts.  Ha ha.

    •  I know some of those Wall Street mathematicians (0+ / 0-)

      and also insurance company mathematicians (actuaries). We told management that you can only use the tools when the conditions of the theorem are true, but did they listen? Hey, it wasn't their money!

      Actually, the worst case was economists Scholes and Merton. Merton and Scholes won the Nobel Prize for working out the formula for pricing options and other derivatives, and started a hedge fund to cash in. It wasn't until they had $4.6 billion dollars of other people's money at Long Term Capital Management and destroyed the company that they really took notice that the formula depends on market stability, which the Russian economic implosion had destroyed.

      Despite the existence of the volatility smile (and the violation of all the other assumptions of the Black–Scholes model), the Black–Scholes PDE and Black–Scholes formula are still used extensively in practice. A typical approach is to regard the volatility surface as a fact about the market, and use an implied volatility from it in a Black–Scholes valuation model. This has been described as using "the wrong number in the wrong formula to get the right price."
      Except, of course, when the wrong number in the wrong formula gives you the wrong price without any warning.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 11:55:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Therein lies the problem . . . (0+ / 0-)
        We told management that you can only use the tools when the conditions of the theorem are true,
        I'd estimate that there is exactly a zero percent (0 %) chance that financial management types understood that.

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