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Join the Stigler Center for a conversation with big data and finance expert Wei Pan and Chicago Booth professor Michael Minnis on the challenges and opportunities of big data and AI in finance, economics, and beyond.

Topics covered will include the use of smart phone location data to track real-time consumer behavior and measure industrial activities, and the challenges of AI and big data in asset management and alpha generation. The conversation will also explore the potential applications of such technology for measuring global economic activities across countries with high accuracy, real-time update, and comparability for macroeconomics analysis, as well as the implications for privacy, capital allocation, and other spheres.

Wei Pan is a renowned researcher in big data and finance. He has spent the last eight years studying, measuring and predicting human and economic activities using modern sensing and modeling techniques. Pan previously worked at Fidelity Investments under the Chief Economist where he focused on systemic research and the Flash Crash. He also worked at Google Research China on Google’s first real-time indexing system. Pan published his first AI research paper in the world’s top AI research journal during his undergraduate studies. Select honors include Best Undergraduate Dissertation Award, Tsinghua University, 2007, DARPA Network Challenge Winner, 2009, Emerging Leader in Signal Processing and Multimedia, IBM Research, 2010 and NetSci Best Student Talk Award in 2012. He has published over 20 research papers in journals such as Science, and his research work has been covered by media outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, Technology Review, New Scientist, The Atlantic, and others. Pan has been a frequent commentator and columnist in both the US and China on technology and data. Pan holds a PhD in Computational Social Science from the MIT Media Lab, spent two years in the Computer Science Department at Dartmouth College, and also holds a Bachelor of Engineering from Tsinghua University in Computer Science.

Michael Minnis (moderator) studies the role of accounting information in allocating investment efficiently by both managers and capital providers. His recent research focuses on understanding the role of privately held companies in the US economy and how these firms use financial reporting to access, deploy, and manage capital. He particularly enjoys identifying unique data and methods to empirically examine issues in a novel way. In 2018, Minnis became a member of the Private Company Council, the primary advisory council to the Financial Accounting Standards Board on private company issues. In this role he helps FASB understand the effects of accounting standards on private companies and helps shape new standards as they relate to private companies. He has also been engaged in consulting projects, working with the investment bank Lincoln International to develop and launch the Lincoln Middle Market Index which tracks the value of private middle market companies. Prior to pursuing his PhD, Minnis worked in a variety of professional roles. He first started in corporate finance at Eli Lilly and Company, Inc. and later at Fitzgerald | Isaac, p.c. as a certified public accountant. Building on his knowledge and experience, Minnis went on to found Controller Associates LLC. His firm provided part-time controller and CFO services to start-ups, small companies, and non-profit organizations, as well as a variety of financial statement analysis and consulting services. He sold the firm to Milestone Advisors in 2006. Minnis received his PhD from the University of Michigan and his BS from the University of Illinois.

11:45 a.m. Registration

12:00 noon Address and Q&A

1:00 p.m. Adjournment

Harper Center C05
5807 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

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