Pharma Mutuals

This was a self-directed research project that had its origins in my desire to better understand the contents of an enticing TED talk that I watched during the first week of my last semester as an undergraduate student.

What grabbed my attention was that the speaker (Stein) invited scrutiny of their source code, making it [publicly available on GitHub][code]. This event likely seeded my interest in open-source philosophies and diving into this project was an early attempt to learn more about how other people write code.

I sent the video, paper, and code, to a couple of friends1 and paid a visit to my statistics professor to see if he would agree to supervise a directed study on the subject for college credit.

The paper proposed the used of securitization techniques (combining assets into new financial products in order to dilute risk), to fund the risky endeavor of investing in biomedical breakthroughs. The high cost of FDA trials and the availability of promising initial research are in direct conflict with one another. The authors propose pooling together many promising research projects/labs/teams, and financing them through trials, understanding that most will not complete the process but the ones that do will pay for the rest.

For some frequently asked questions about the paper/talk please consult the FAQ written by the authors.

My friends and I formed a “class” and met regularly to perform an analysis of the resiliency of the financial strategy outlined in the paper.

I suppose this was our idea for how to do _parallel computing_ at that stage in our lives. (Not pictured: another half-dozen computers working to the right.)

I suppose this was our idea for how to do parallel computing at that stage in our lives. (Not pictured: another half-dozen computers working to the right.)

We presented this work at the 2014 UP-STAT Conference held on our campus later that semester.

An image from the UP-STAT conference where we presented our work. I am on the far left, with entirely unwieldy hair. [Image source](https://go.geneseo.edu/bilgic)

An image from the UP-STAT conference where we presented our work. I am on the far left, with entirely unwieldy hair. Image source

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Michael Pilosov
(applied) math nerd on a mission.

Talks

This talk was the result of a directed study in which myself and two colleagues performed a numerical sensitivity analysis on the …
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