Oxford's new datalab for financial research

The new datalab in OMI is similar to those used by large financial institutions.
The new datalab in OMI is similar to those used by large financial institutions. Image courtesy OneMarketData LLC.

Oxford researchers trying to improve the understanding of financial systems have new facilities to store and analyse huge volumes of financial data, which should speed up the research process. The Oxford-Man Institute of Quantitative Finance (OMI) has established a virtual 'data lab', which mirrors the systems that are being used by commercial financial institutions worldwide.

The data lab captures, stores and analyses vast amounts of financial data, and is the latest project in a collaborative venture between Oxford and world-leading alternative investment manager, Man Group. The database is powered by OneTick, a specialised tool that consolidates and compresses data streams. It was created by OneMarketData LLC, which also donated the software and helped to install the new system.

OMI academics and students can tap into the lab using their own desktop computers to quickly access and analyse huge amounts of valuable data sources. The Oxford-Man Institute set up in 2007 as a unique interdisciplinary collaboration whereby employees from the University and Man are co-located in the same purpose-designed building.

Professor Terry Lyons FRS, Director of the Oxford-Man Institute, said: 'Markets are complex evolving systems carrying a huge amount of data. Being able to access and manage financial and business data quickly is very important if we are to learn how to address the key problems associated with financial markets and risk in a way that has significant impact. The new system will aid our researchers in gaining a better and deeper understanding of financial markets, their behaviour, their stability, and their inter-dependence.'

Researchers at the OMI are investigating market volatility, hedge fund liquidity, credit default and systemic risk. As pioneers in computational techniques and new mathematics, they are trying to find novel methods for assessing and limiting risk, while providing the expertise on the algorithms and technology that are required to carry out such analysis.

The University and Man Group have their own separate research laboratories, but share communal spaces. This means academic researchers can mix with practitioners at the cutting edge in commercial application. OMI draws on researchers from social sciences, mathematics, statistics and the computational sciences to create an improved understanding of financial risk and financial markets.