The Virus Fight and Wall Street Quants

A “motley crew of quants” is taking the virus fight to a whole new level, according to a recent Bloomberg article.

“Hedge fund managers, market academics and risk experts are channeling their data-mining smarts to the world of clinical sciences to model the trajectory of this once-in-a-century pandemic,” the article says.

A team of data scientists at  the Australian credit fund Coolabah Capital, for example, developed a proprietary model (based on regression analysis) to map the virus’s path: “After concluding that cases from the U.S. to Europe would largely peak this month Coolabah duly poured about $580 million scooping up risk assets in March to catch the market rebound.”

Other firms are driven more by a sense of civic duty, the article notes, adding that a consortium (which includes the White House) is “calling for artificial intelligence experts to help unearth insights from the growing stockpile of Covid-19 research.” Hedge fund Atlas Ridge Capital, for one, is helping launch the non-profit organization Covid Network which uses statistical techniques to match hospital demand with the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Founder Christos Koutsoyannis is reportedly “calling on the financial industry to share data including cell-phone usage and satellite imagery that might help estimate the effectiveness of social distancing.“ He said, “Quants might not have epidemiological experience, but the mathematical challenges are similar.”

Rotella Capital Management global head of strategic business development Dean Crowder put it this way: “All quant funds have knowledgeable data scientists who can get involved in providing our respective government agencies and the medical professionals  actionable insights to control the spread.”