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J Doyne Farmer

Oxford, UK
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Pioneer in the field of econophysics

Professor of Mathematics, Oxford University

Co-Director, Complexity Economics, The Institute for New Economic Thinking, Oxford Martin School

Professor J Doyne Farmer is an American physicist, entrepreneur and pioneer in the field of econophysics – the application of modelling methods from physics to solve economic problems. His main interest is in developing quantitative theories for social evolution, in particular for financial markets, and for the evolution of technologies.

Doyne is a former professor at the Santa Fe Institute and is currently a Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, where he co-directs the Oxford Martin Programme on Complexity. He is concurrently a scientific co-ordinator on a project called Crisis. Funded by the EU and spanning 11 institutions and multiple disciplines, the project incorporates data from key sectors of the economy (households, firms, banks and governments) and simulates interactions from its component parts. The project’s ultimate goal is to provide a powerful tool that helps policy makers answer questions such as: What restrictions should be placed on markets? How much leverage should homebuyers be allowed to have? What types of loan should be allowed? How is this policy going to affect the volatility of the housing market?

A successful entrepreneur, Doyne has also co-founded several ventures. These include: “Eudaemonic Enterprises” (1978) which tries to predict the outcome of roulette games; “Prediction Company” (1991), a quantitative trading firm; and “Atalaya Institute” (2006), a new and independent public policy institute in Santa Fe. Prediction Company has recently been sold to UBS.

Our Comment

"Doyne’s trailblazing work - using large sets of economic and social data to build models that can predict trends in financial markets and the wider economy - is revolutionising the nature of economic research. His work has gained a lot of purchase in a post-financial crisis world."

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